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GP Week : Issue 160
TYRED AND EMOTIONAL CRIME AND PUNISHMENT It’s par for the course for riders to blame everything on their tyres. When all are using the same control tyres, this means a guaranteed whipping for the suppliers, if for no other reason than you can’t please everybody. Bridgestone knew this from the start. By and large, the company has floated above it. Their tyres are, again by and large, consistent and predictable, and they have managed to respond to the requests of the riders (eg: for better warm-up performance) at the same time as fulfilling the requirements of the organisers. Until their latest softer front tyre, liked by all except the two factory Honda riders Stoner and Pedrosa, whose complaints are regular and vehement. The road has got rougher over the last two races. After Silverstone at least two riders had serious tyre problems – Stoner and Spies. At Assen, the problems were more numerous and more serious. Again Spies fell victim, but not just to chatter and tyre slides. This time the tyre was flying apart in great chunks ... one hit his leg. With three laps left he soldiered on, albeit terrified. The same thing happened to Rossi, with ten laps left. Tyre flying to bits. He stopped for a tyre change, it was so bad. Now it is not just the Honda pair feeling somewhat queasy about the latest softer-construction 2012 tyres, both front and rear. There are fears that the flex and squish contributes to excessive heat build-up.. Spies in particular mentioned his concerns at the forthcoming Mugello race, in potentially hot conditions with a 340km/h straight. Bridgestone have some bridges to rebuild to restore confidence. The next two weeks will show how long that is going to take. Fellow-riders were, almost to a man, more than ready to condemn Bautista for his first-corner indiscretion. So too was Race Direction. They promptly penalised him with a back-of-the-grid start for the next GP. Naturally, this was highly controversial; as naturally Bautista’s team protested. It was over-ruled by the FIM Stewards, and their decision (says the document) is final. The complaining carried on, in the motorhomes and hospitality units of the paddock. Crash victim Lorenzo was understandably the most vocal: “For me it was a big disaster. Alvaro was completely out of control. All the other riders were braking and he had full throttle. It was like a PlayStation move, but by a five-year-old, not a world champion. “I am more disappointed by the decision of Race Direction. It’s not fair. In 2005 I was penalised by one race for a move much less risky. John Hopkins for the same move also one race penalty. And it’s not the first time Alvaro did this. “If Race Direction keep not acting with a hard hand, then we might have another bad situation. Losing 25 points is bad, but health is more important. I could easily have an ankle or a leg broken.” Not everyone was quite so critical, Rossi was one of several who thought the penalty well-earned but reasonable. But the “unfair” call is not without foundation. On the same day in the Moto3 race, Sandro Cortese made a number of rough moves, including banging right into Red Bull KTM team-mate Danny Kent while they were disputing the lead. It was surprising that Kent didn’t crash. It is not the first time this year the German has been accused of rough riding. His penalty? Nothing. And as long as these arbitrary decisions and widely varying penalties persist, the whole system is wide open to criticism. It is time for new Race Director Mike Webb to formalise a protocol, to introduce a clearly defined Yellow Card/Red Card system, in the interests of all. 24 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> ASSEN