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Apr 18, 2013

Fire In Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Garage At COTA Not Expected To Impact Race Weekend (Updated)

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Cal Crutchlow's (35) weekend at Circuit of The Americas got off to a fiery start Wednesday night.
Tech 3 ready to compete in Austin after garage fire

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team would like to thank the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) and local Austin Fire Department staff for their immediate action after a small fire broke out inside Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith’s pit garage overnight.

One of the electric starters used to start the Team’s Yamaha YZR-M1 machinery caught fire, but thanks to the high standards of safety and fire prevention at the new COTA track, a sprinkler system was immediately activated and prevented any serious damage.

Computer equipment was damaged but despite the disruption to preparations for the inaugural Circuit of the Americas race, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is not anticipating the fire incident causing any problems to its participation in this weekend’s much anticipated first race in Texas.

Team staff will now commence a thorough investigation into the cause of the fire and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team would also like to place on record its appreciation to the management and staff at Yamaha for its cooperation in helping the French-based squad be as best prepared as possible for the weekend.

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:

“Unfortunately there was a small incident inside the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage overnight. The process of starting a MotoGP machine requires an electric starter and overnight they are left on charge.

"This is standard procedure and something we have been doing ever since the introduction of the four-stroke era. Unfortunately in the night one of the batteries caught fire. We have suffered quite a lot of damage and of course it is not ideal preparations but thankfully the fire prevention measures undertaken by the Circuit of the Americas and the assistance of the local Fire Department were invaluable in limiting the damage. The sprinkler system was immediately activated and fire crews on scene promptly and I am grateful for that. We will be conducting a thorough investigation to find out why this issue occurred and take the necessary steps to ensure it is not repeated in the future. I would like to apologise to the Yamaha Factory Team, LCR Honda and Cardion AB too, as the sprinkler system was also activated inside their pit area as well. But it could have been much worse and with the fantastic support of Yamaha and others in the close-knit MotoGP community, I am confident we can participate in this weekend’s race without any additional problems."

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Factory MotoGP Team:

Fire Causes Disruption for Yamaha at Circuit of The Americas

Austin (Texas, USA), 18th April 2013

Yamaha Factory Racing’s start to the Austin Grand Prix weekend was less than desirable as a small fire in the adjacent Tech3 garage in the early hours of this morning activated the fire safety systems, covering both the Yamaha Factory Racing and Tech3 equipment and MotoGP machines in water and powder. The fire was accidental and likely caused by and electric motorcycle engine starter.

As a result of the activation of the sprinkler system and the quick response of the COTA and local Austin Fire Department there is unlikely to be much damage.

Massimo Meregalli
Team Director
“The first impression we had when we arrived was really bad but fortunately it doesn't look as bad as we initially thought. We will now have to disassemble the bikes and dry them, clean them and rebuild them again. For sure it could have been a lot worse. We don’t know the cause yet but it is possible the fire started in a battery of an electric motorcycle engine starter inside the Tech3 garage. The emergency automatic fire system was activated and as a result we have water and white fire retardant powder everywhere. Most importantly no one was injured in this incident. The fire started around 1am and we were informed by IRTA at 6am. We are now in the process of cleaning everything. We have to say a big thank you to the circuit staff who are putting in a lot of effort to be of help.”

More, from a press release issued by Circuit of The Americas:

Small fire causes minimal damage to garage at Circuit of The Americas

Incident has no impact on final preps for Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas

AUSTIN, Texas (April 18, 2013) – Circuit of The Americas today announced that a small overnight garage fire will have no impact on final preparations for the Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas, which begins tomorrow, Friday, April 19, and runs through Sunday, April 21, at the new purpose-built Grand Prix facility in Central Texas.

The fire, which was first reported at 1 a.m. CDT, was contained to Garage 4, although water and fire retardant power from the Circuit’s fire suppression system also affected parts of Garages 1, 2, 3, and 5. No significant damage occurred and no one on the scene was injured.

Preliminary reports from Austin Fire Department officials on the scene indicated that the fire was accidental, and likely caused by an electric motorcycle engine starter that was charging at the time of the incident. The equipment was located in the garage currently being used by the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team. Garages assigned to the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, LCR Honda Motorcycle Racing Team and Cardion AB Motoracing Team were also affected by water.

“We extend our sincere thanks to the Austin Fire Department for their assistance early this morning as they quickly helped us extinguish the fire in Garage 4,” Circuit Vice President of Public & Media Relations Julie Loignon stated. “The Circuit’s fire suppression system performed well, and while we have some cleaning up to do in the garages affected by water, there was no significant damage to the buildings or the equipment housed in the garages that is vital to the affected teams’ performance this weekend. We are continuing with preparations for the Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas and look forward to treating fans to world-class motorcycling racing this weekend as the champions from MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 come to Texas for the very first time.”

About Circuit of The Americas
Circuit of The Americas is a world-class destination for premium sports and entertainment. It is the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the United States designed for any and all classes of racing, from motor power to human power, and is home to the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX while also hosting MotoGP™, V8 Supercars™, GRAND-AM Road Racing™, American Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championships. The Circuit of The Americas’ master plan features a variety of permanent structures designed for business, education, entertainment and race use. Its signature element is a 3.4-mile circuit track. Other support buildings include the Austin360 Amphitheater, an expansive outdoor live music space; an iconic 251-foot, 25-story tower with observation deck; an events and conference center; a banquet hall; and a state-of-the-art medical facility. For more information and downloadable video, audio and photos, visit:, or the Circuit’s dedicated FTP site,
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