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GP Week : Issue 24
Rossi not tyring with development IT WAS not only the fact that Michelin tyres were so bad that helped Rossi to his win. It was the fact, more disturbing for his rivals, that he is continuing to improve his grasp of the Bridgestone tyres that he switched to this year. “Race by race we understand more about Bridgestones,”he said after the race. “At Laguna Seca we made a big step in understanding how to improve rear grip. And today again, after warm-up, Jeremy (Burgess, his legendary crew chief) suggested another modification to improve one part of the track. “He asked if we should do it, without having a chance to test it. I said yes. And it worked very well.” The result was that he won by more than 15 seconds. It proves not only that Rossi is going to be hard to beat any time again this year … though he doesn’t actually need to win any more races. It also suggests that he will continue to get better as they get more and more understanding. That’s scary, if you have to race against him. Why the French have faltered Michael Scott MotoGP editor TYRES wars have been a major theme ever since Bridgestone started to beat Michelin on a regular basis: the Japanese brand coming in at Samurai strength against the well-established dominant French force. Things came to a head at the end of last year when Rossi spat the dummy, and demanded Bridgestones. The Japanese refused, and Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta turned the screws on Bridgestone: give Rossi tyres or MotoGP would follow World Superbikes to a single- tyre rule. Probably with Michelin. For the French company, things have gone from bad to 32 worse after the year started reasonably well. Since Pedrosa’s last win in round seven in Catalunya, one problem followed another. The wrong rain tyres in Germany, where Pedrosa crashed out. Then the wrong everything at Laguna Seca: they’d gone against rider advice and brought only the hardest compounds. Riders had such trouble getting them up to temperature that some actually used intermediates in practice. At Brno, it was a similar story: serious problems with front tyres. The ones that gripped wouldn’t last race distance; the next grade was treacherous and lacking in grip. The best finishers were rookies Dovizioso and Lorenzo, ninth and 10th. The other four cruised round at the back. opinion