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GP Week : Issue 31
>>Moto GPAustralia For safety’s sake, it’s just not true Michael Scott MotoGP editor I HATE to bang on and on about tyres and the single-tyre rule, but sadly it is so important that the topic won’t go away. Last week we looked at the cowardice of the tyre companies, in not resisting the rule. This week we have seen the consequence. Michelin had the courage of its convictions, declining to take part in a supposedly top- level racing series without tyre competition. Bridgestone, in spite of previously expressing opposition, managed somehow to overcome its scruples, and walked away with the pizza. Mind you, before we are overcome with too much admiration for Michelin’s moral rectitude, bear in mind that the French company is one of three (with Dunlop and Pirelli) that has put in a bid for exclusive supply to next year’s American series. But this is, a Michelin man explained to me, different: being closer to a production bike series, with commercial rather than prototype tyres. This time, let’s look at the politics behind the move, and the lies that have been told in support of it. One big lie in particular … that it is being done “for safety reasons”. Dorna’s so-called theory is that by removing the element of competitive tyre development corner speeds will be reduced, and this will improve safety. The facts are at variance: in fact mid- corner speed has not changed a great deal from 990 to 800 (the bikes are after all the same weight). Improved lap times came from improved corner entry and exit speeds. In any case, the bikes with the highest corner speeds are the smaller ones, 125s and 250s. But when asked how he thought having tyres with less grip would increase safety, Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta simply laughed it off. “Don’t play with that,”he said, turning to Randy Mamola to produce a theory that riders currently on inferior tyres would no longer be obliged to try too hard in corners to make up for it. Oh really! So with control tyres, everyone will stop trying to go faster than one another? Some racing … Another lie was that the rule comes at the request of the riders. This was half true, in that it was one of a number of suggestions made at the Brno meeting with the MotoGP riders called by Ezpeleta. But, as Rossi and others revealed, there was far from unanimous support for this mischievous nonsense. In fact, the only unanimity came in a suggest that MotoGP should revert to the 990 class. There may be some good things from a single-tyre rule. Possibly we will see the return of sliding in the corners, for instance. But it will not be safer, and nobody thinks it will be much fairer either. The results will be much the same as now, with the best riders running away up front. Only now those behind will have another excuse: that the mono-tyres have been developed around the big-name riders, at their expense. And the status of bike racing’s top series will be irredeemable damaged. 37 opinion