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GP Week : Issue 33
>>Moto GPnews Mono-tyre plans firming up BRIDGESTONE has been confirmed, as expected, as the lone tyre supplier for MotoGP next year, and rough details of early plans have emerged. Some fears have been stilled, but much remains to be decided. Unconfirmed reports say that tyre numbers will be cut from the current 32 to just 20 for the weekend, and that there will be just two different types available. These will be chosen from seven different types that Bridgestone will develop during the winter. A further four rain tyres will be available, in two different specs. However, Bridgestone’s statement emphasised the safety aspect, and word from Valentino Rossi and other riders is that the company will be flexible, even after the start of the season, until a happy solution is reached. Riders were at first concerned at just having two types from which to choose before the weekend, until reassurance came from Bridgestone that the tyres will be made to operate over a much broader range than at present, at the cost of lap times and corner speed. Stoner was one such: “Now we have very specific ranges for the tyres, and if you had only two different compounds at the moment, it’s impossible,” he said. “You cannot have a soft and hard. You would crash with a hard tyre in the cold and in the heat if you had a soft tyre you would destroy it before the end of the race. Now we’ve understood that they’ll be making completely different tyres to suit a wider range of circuits and things like this, so it’s not that bad.” Rossi also spoke of how Bridgestone had told him: “Trust in us – if the tyres are not enough, we are ready to increase the number.” The riders were not all in agreement, said Rossi, but it was now a matter of wait-and-see: “We have to try the new style of tyres in Valencia or Jerez,” he said. Ex-Superbike champion James Toseland has experience of control tyres from his days in the production-based class, and was optimistic. The Pirelli system had been tricky at the start, but settled down to work well, he said: “The way MotoGP’s doing it I think it’ll just kind of flow into itself at the start of next year. If everybody’s got the same grip out there, there’s a whole lot of guys in MotoGP with similar talents. If we’ve all got the same grip and all similar power, I’m sure it’s going to be great for the racing,” he said. A lack of tyre numbers may restrict testing at Valencia, however, with the race just a week away. Further tests are planned at Jerez. Gibernau’s return to be confirmed at Valencia FORMER double championship runner-up Sete Gibernau is set to return to racing after months of on-again/off-again rumours concerning the veteran Spaniard. An announcement on the eve of next week’s Valencia GP is expected to confirm that Sete will be the rider in a new second satellite Ducati team, to be sponsored by Onde 2000 and managed by current 125 rider Pablo Nieto, son of legendary 13-times champion Angel. Earlier in the week, Gibernau was unwilling to comment, other than to say: “If a situation can be achieved that I will be able to enjoy racing again, then I will be ready to return.” Gibernau, who will be 36 at the start of next season, has tested the factory Ducati twice this year. He rode for the factory team in 2006, but lost his seat to Casey Stoner for 2007 after a dispute over salary. Two more Ducati riders have been confirmed. As reported earlier, the Alice-sponsored team will take a junior rider-training role for the factory, fielding class rookies Mika Kallio and Niccolò Canepa. Kallio has extensive GP experience in 125 and 250; 20-year-old Canepa has impressed as factory tester this year. 13