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GP Week : Issue 122
I can’t believe I drove 2500km for that ... GPWEEK OPINION >> They did the job well enough to push Michelin into second place. This broader focus served the new single- tyre conditions well. Tyres needed to suit all bikes and riders, while to keep costs under control they also needed to be made at least two months in advance, then shipped not air-freighted from Japan. The Bridgies were so good that the loss of intermediate tyres passed almost unnoticed: the Japanese wet tyres had unprecedented endurance and versatility. The down-side of the broad focus and endurance came in the early laps. The tyres needed to be thoroughly warmed, and kept warm ... or they could catch a rider out badly. A new kind of crash became increasingly common: losing the rear with the throttle closed, and high-siding – as happened to Crutchlow at Silverstone, to Edwards at the previous race at Catalunya (broken collar- bone each), to Rossi at Mugello last year (broken leg) and Hiro Aoyama at Silverstone last year(broken back). In fact, there have been 60 such crashes on Bridgestones, according to Crutchlow. Fresh off Superbikes where the control Pirellis have “exactly the opposite performance” – grippy from the start and “spinning like mad” at race end, the rookie has become the new head urger for something to change. Trouble is, changes are neither easy nor rapid for Bridgestone, for reasons both technical and logistic (see separate News story). Nor are the engineers that convinced that the problem is either so acute or as easily described. What happens next? The “crap” tyres will be the same for the next few races, but hopefully the extreme cold of Silverstone will not visit Italy or Germany. And Bridgestone will probably accelerate development of next year’s tyre, with better warm-up, possibly to introduce it before the end of this year. Then, in the way of these things, the current tyres really will be “crap”. because the only thing JYS likes more than racing is talking. So it was 5pm by the time I could set off for the continent. Three hours later I was still on the M25. But once I hit France, the roads were empty. I spent the night at home in Paris and had a call in the morning from a damsel in distress. My friend was due at a wedding and had missed her train to La Rochelle. So I had a partner in crime for my speedy four-hour dash through wine country and a wedding to gatecrash, which should be a part of any good spontaneous road trip if you ask me. Canapes downed, bride congratulated, it was back on the road in the direction of the Pyrenees. With 10 hours driving to go till Valencia and the sun beginning tosetIknewIwouldhavetofinda motel over the border, but not before I’d sampled one of the best roads in Spain, the A-23, winding through the mountains towards Pamplona. Spectacular scenery, lots of overtaking, unexpected wedding stowaways... three reasons why the journey was better than the destination. I think Bruno’s car is ready for its first service already. Tyres: round, black and (eventually) crap or:The quiet life of a motorsport journalist 21