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GP Week : Issue 54
>>Moto GPFEATURE Two of the riders that did not crash were Valentino Rossi and race winner Danny Pedrosa. Odly, frequent fallers Alex de Angelis and Randy de Puniet were the only other non-crashers. shortest lap of the year. Less distance meant that “relatively more laps were needed for (the tyres) to reach optimum temperature. This was an especially important factor during the qualifying session.” Ubukata observed that both Stoner’s and Lorenzo’s high- sides had come “on their first quick laps out of the pits on new rear slicks. They didn’t get enough temperature in their tyres before their attacking laps, as they explained in the post- qualifying Press conference. This … was a major contributor to their falls.” Both had taken place not only on right-handers, but also on falling sections of track. There, Ubukata said, “it was harder for the riders to load their rear tyres because the corners are downhill, meaning the weight transfer is towards the front of the bike and away from the rear tyre, giving less rear grip.” Significantly, perhaps, all the crashes in the race (Dovizioso, Gibernau, Capirossi and Talmacsi) were relatively painless low-siders, bearing out Bridgestone’s assertion that the tyres worked perfectly fine once up to heat. “Our temperature prediction was correct, and the difference between the shoulders of the rear tyres was very similar to that experienced in Mugello and Assen, where we also used single compound tyres. I support our tyre choice this weekend,” Ubukata said. But he acknowledged the riders’ calls for the return of mixed compounds: “As part of our continual development process we will carefully analyse all our data from the weekend, and consider asymmetric tyres for Laguna next year.” The summit meeting between the riders on the Safety Commission and Bridgestone was always scheduled for the resumption of racing after the summer break at the Czech Republic GP. There the progress of the first year of the single-tyre rule will be assessed, and new proposals considered. Mixed compounds are certain to be top of the agenda; but few expect that the return of the high-side will be a major factor. Laguna was a special case, as much for its own nature as the lack of asymmetric tyres. This is the view of race director Paul Butler. The management committee had analysed all the accidents as usual, and concluded the sudden spate of high-siders did not constitute the start of a new plague. “It’s got to do with the nature of the race-track, with turns three/four and ten the only real right-handers; and the tyre temperature,” he said. “There was a difference of 11 degrees centigrade between free practice and qualifying practice. The tyres were battling with different temperatures all the time.” Butler thought there may be a factor of traction control cutting in unexpectedly after a tyre has lost side grip, but pointed out the common factor in the centre-stage crashes suffered by Lorenzo and Stoner. “They both described closed- throttle high-sides.” This is a key difference to the power-on high-sides of old. And one of the old-timers at the track had an explanation: “When that happens, it’s because you’ve gone into the corner too fast!” 3