Formula 1 may be moving towards a closed cockpit setup in the name of driver safety, but over in MotoGP the racers are still riding al fresco inches above the asphalt at ludicrous speeds. That’s why it’s so unbelievable that no one was seriously injured after an oil spill sent almost half the field flying off a curve in a crazy pileup at the French Moto3 Grand Prix race this weekend.
Of course, that begs the question: How exactly does a massive oil slick form on a track in the middle of the race without anyone noticing?
On the first lap at Le Mans, a smaller crash at the Dunlop chicane took out four riders, two of whom were able to remount and get back in the race. At least one of the bikes was leaking fluids after that—and though there’s some dispute as to who was responsible, the slippery situation at the Chapelle curve on the next lap speaks for itself. At least 13 riders—including the three leaders and most of the top 10—went spinning off the track en masse after hitting the fluid trail just as they leaned into the curve.
It’s rare to see so many wreck at once in a MotoGP race, and rarer still to have everyone walk away when people are literally being hit by flying motorcycles. It’s all so synchronized, it’s almost like some godly hand reached down and flicked everyone off their bikes at once.
The race was red-flagged and halted so officials could give the track a thorough cleaning, and restarted with a shortened length about thirty minutes later. Despite getting caught in the pileup and taking a direct hit from a sliding motorcycle, Moto3 points leader Joan Mir went on to grab the win.