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GP Week : Issue 27
>>Moto GPInsight us, says Dunlop minuses from one of the bike tyre stalwarts ... One such example was in F1 when Goodyear was the sole supplier in 1986, when Nigel Mansell lost the title to Alain Prost at the final round at Adelaide, when his tyre disintegrated at high speed. “Tyres self-evidently play a critical role in the outcome – they are a critical part of performance,” he said, adding that his personal view on a mono-tyre rule was “the same as always. MotoGP is the top level of motorcycle racing, and there is competition between the motorcycle manufacturers, as well as suspension and tyre manufacturers. It may be idealistic, but I think it should be encouraged, not discouraged.” Ferguson agreed that Dorna’s plan to suggest such a rule at the next GP Commission meeting in Japan seemed something of a knee-jerk reaction: “It’s clear from the outside that Bridgestone has done a better job than Michelin. But it was different at the beginning of the season.” If Rossi was on Michelin rather than Bridgestone, the picture might be different, he thought. Asked where he thought Bridgestone had found the advantage, he explained that the Japanese company appeared to be concentrating on development of compounds rather than different construction – and the fact that it owned its own polymer company could be significant. Polymers are the crucial component that tyre engineers play with in compounding. As well as tending to be both exotic and expensive, it is not always easy to obtain specially formulated polymers in good time. Racing tyre departments are minor customers of polymer producers, taking only relatively small quantities. “If you order half a ton or a tonne of a custom-made polymer, you can expect your order to take second place to somebody who is ordering 500 or 1,000 tonnes!” he said. Fergusson thus concluded that having a hotline to its own polymer laboratory might be the ace in Bridgestone’s pack. 35