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GP Week : Issue 30
>>Moto GPMOTEGI When the war is over for the past several. But is the expected benefit Michael Scott MotoGP editor SUNDAY was a sad day for motorcycle grand prix racing. The day it was finally decided to adopt a one-make tyre rule. Along with Le Man endurance, MotoGP was the last major motor sport in which tyre competition was free. It’s been on the cards for a year now. I felt outrage in the weeks and months leading up to it, but strangely just a sense of resignation when it happened. Nothing more to be done. The tyre wars are over. Well, there is one more battle: to see which company will get the contract. Though most think it a foregone conclusion, and indeed already a (secretly) done deal. It will be Bridgestone, which has become the tyre of choice in any case. Giving the Japanese corporation control of both F1 and the bikes. Even though it has repeatedly said it doesn’t really want it. Why is it bad? Because it removes from racing one of the few elements that make it worthwhile, rather than mere petrol-head hedonism. Racing motorcycles are very similar to street bikes, and in the case of tyres mixed compounds and in earlier years radial ply tyres were direct hand-me-downs from GP racing. Why is it good? Because in theory it will put all on equal rubber, and eliminate those bad days when a rider knows from first practice on Friday morning that he hasn’t got a chance – as happened to Michelin runners at Laguna Seca and Brno this year. And to the small handful of Dunlop riders at every race real? Will it really give the little guys a better chance? No. The tyres will still be developed around the fast guys … i.e. Rossi. And motorcycles being so very particular, a tyre that suits a Yamaha might be close to disastrous on a different motorcycle. In the past, tyre companies could work around that, making tyres that were suitable for their different clients. No such chance now. Suzuki, Kawasaki et al will have to change their motorcycle to suit the available tyres rather than the other way round. Which will hardly make it more fair, nor reduce costs and cut the need for expensive testing. Worse is that the tyre companies were architects of their own downfall. Over the past year both Michelin and Bridgestone have allowed themselves to be pushed around by riders and by Dorna to an unprecedented degree. The most recent example was the meek acquiescence to Pedrosa’s petulant demand for a mid-season switch to Bridgestones. Perhaps there wasn’t much option. The same acquiescence to Rossi’s similar demands last year (although he at least had the decency to see the year out) was against the threat of a single tyre rule. But it was only a threat, and if it had been met with a return threat from both that they would refuse to cooperate, who knows what the outcome would have been. The loss of status and dignity affects us all. It is one step closer to motorcycle music hall, to where the show is more important than the technicality. The loss of dignity and values is plain. A sad day indeed. 41 opinion