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GP Week : Issue 162
With tyre rules adjusted for a second time this season to cope with potential heat problems at Mugello, Bridgestone’s hastily made batch of ‘emergency ’ extra for the punishing conditions turned out to be surplus to requirements. Only one rider chose them for the race – Casey Stoner. And he never had the chance to prove if they would make any difference, after running off and finishing a distant eighth. The Japanese company, sole suppliers to the MotoGP class, were on the back foot after Rossi, Spies and Barbera lost chunks out of their rear tyres in unexpectedly hot conditions at Assen. Already wilting under sustained criticism of the new soft front tyre from factory Honda riders Stoner and Pedrosa, they came in for further brickbats at the German GP after Lorenzo said their insistent advice to use the harder tyre choice – issued minutes before the rider left his pit for the race – had cost him the chance of fighting for victory. He finished a distant second to Pedrosa’s Honda. All riders tried the harder tyres in practice, and though (as Pedrosa said) “both work well”, he and Lorenzo felt no benefit: “I get a bit more wheelspin with the harder when it is hot,” said Pedrosa; with Lorenzo adding “There is no benefit – maybe a bit less grippy.” Stoner’s reason for choosing them for the race was a little obtuse: “I used the extra hard because it wasn’t any worse than the hard ... I couldn’t see any negatives,” he said. Ground temperatures at Mugello were officially recorded as 45 degrees, at Assen 37 degrees, and speeds at the Italian track are much higher, but there were no reports of chunking tyres. ‘EMERGENCY TYRES’ NOT NEEDED IN BLAZING HEAT Predictions that the new-generation 1000cc MotoGP bikes would crack 350 km/h at the fastest straight of the season, beating the 349.3 record set by Dani Pedrosa’s Honda in 2009, came to naught, on a hot weekend with no significant helpful tailwind. The fastest bike of the weekend was Rossi’s Ducati, at 246.9 km/h during the race. With Barbera’s Duke a couple of points slower, the best of the rest was Spies’s Yamaha at 344.8, while for once the Hondas were the slowest factory bikes, Pedrosa clocking a best of 342.5 in qualifying. Stoner didn’t think there was much difference in top speed, saying: “The Ducatis might have a little bit more right at the end of the straight, but so much depends on the exit from the last corner.” The radical difference was between the factory prototypes and production-engine-powered CRT bikes. The best of these was Colin Edwards’s Suter BMW at 327.9; the slowest Petrucci’s Aprilia-powered Ioda, 309.5. “The difference is dangerous – you come on them so fast,” said Stoner. “It’s like having Touring Cars racing in Formula One.” Mugello was where the MotoGP four-strokes first cracked 200 mph at a race, in 2007: Regis Laconi’s Aprilia took the honour. Two-stroke 500s had passed the milestone in the 1990s, at the ultra-long straights of the Hockenheimring. NEW ONE-LITRE MOTOGP BIKES NOT AS FAST AS 800S But CRT bikes are ‘like Touring Cars in Formula One’ – Stoner MOTOGP >>> NEWS MOTOGP >>> NEWS 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: