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GP Week : Issue 42
>>Moto GPnews New tyre rules worked … but only just THE first race with the new tyre rule – 20 for each rider tyre allocation and choice as last year, I wouldn’t have raced with this “For sure, if I had the same type of tyre,” said Rossi after finishing second. – ran things close, even before the weather took a hand on Sunday night. Bridgestone had a soft and medium compounds available, but with changing conditions at an already difficult track, neither tyre was quite right. The soft tyres did not last, making them out of the question for use in the race. As Stoner explained after qualifying on pole: “On this track, the soft tyres were basically qualifying tyres. They lasted a maximum of two laps before they started to spin a lot. After the first session, we just saved all the soft tyres for the qualifying.” There were also worries also about the endurance of the harder compound. “For sure, if I had the same tyre allocation and choice as last year, I wouldn’t have raced with this type of tyre,” said Rossi after finishing second. “It’s a little bit a new era with the tyres. I had to try to modify my style and the bike setting to try to get to the end, but it was not enough.” The problem that stopped him chasing Stoner was a lack of front-end grip. “When you lose the front it is very, very difficult,” he said. “The rear you can control. But the front, if you make a small mistake, you crash.” Bridgestone development manager Tohru Ubukata admitted: “The Qatar night race was one of our most difficult last year, because of the cold temperatures and the abrasive and sandy track,” he said. “This year we knew it would be challenging.” But the tyres had lasted, if only just, without having to up the allocation, in spite of an extra 20-minute warm-up session for the postponed race. The soft compound had suffered graining, he said; but development had solved the slow warm-up problems they suffered here last year. Some riders had requested that more tyres should be made available after the race postponement, but in the event no deviation from the new regulations was required. “This was a very unusual circumstance, but it shows there is sufficient flexibility in the regulations,” Ubukata concluded. 13