by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 189
23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Ask any rider about how good his tyres are, and you are unlikely to get any answer more enthusiastic than “okay”. Lukewarm is about as good as it gets, and that is only because their contracts specifically ban any really critical comments. ’Twas ever thus. Truth is no matter how much better this year ’s tyres are than last year’s, they are never good enough, because the bikes are powerful enough to chew the living daylights out of them. Same goes for car racing. The difference on two wheels is the penalty paid. Instead of spinning, or even disintegrating and damaging the car, the rider ends up on his backside. Again. Well, they do say that the best medical advice about riding motorcycles is: “Don’t ride motorcycles;” but some of us can’t stop ourselves, and the same goes for the MotoGP superstars. Bridgestone control tyres were introduced to MotoGP in 2009, bringing to an end a period of tyre wars that saw Dunlop spat out and left trailing, while Bridgestone and Michelin were at each other hammer and tongs. Costs were spiralling, in spite of attempts to find agreements to limit numbers and expenditure; lap times kept dropping. Until Dorna clamped down to impose the new one-supplier rule. Bridgestone got the gig, largely because Michelin refused to tender, saying that without competition the quest to keep developing would become meaningless. The Japanese company said much the same, but they didn’t let it stop them. Since that time, they’ve done a good job, in almost every regard. Most particularly in overcoming their particular disadvantage: distance. With tyres made in Japan and airfreighting prohibitively expensive, the event- specific tyres that Michelin were able to build on Saturday and deliver for Sunday were always out of reach. Now even more so, since the economics dictate shipping by sea, so that they tyres have to be general-purpose. Bridgestone aimed development at endurance, and have achieved wonders, with laps at the end of the race as fast as and sometimes faster than at the beginning. This was achieved mainly by stiff carcase construction, and then playing with compounds to good effect. The downside is endemic: they take a lot of warming up, and especially on a cold track they can be brutally unpredictable until they are warm. The list of victims to morning practice or race-morning warm-up high-side crashes grows ever longer. Just in the last three races we have seen riders of the calibre of Pedrosa and Crutchlow crash on out laps in the morning. Silverstone was no exception. On Sunday morning there were no less than five fallers, including (again) Crutchlow, Marquez and Hayden. The first two were hurt, although both made it to the race that afternoon. Bridgestone suggested that since three of five crashes were at the same spot, perhaps a little dip in the track was to blame. But these are weasel words. Like the forcibly tongue-tied riders, it served only to ignore the elephant in the room. Hard-construction tyres are good for endurance, but bad for starting off your day. Only a renewal of tyre wars would force Bridgestone to address the problem. It might be expensive, but it would save another cost – danger and injuries. And what is the true price of them? TIME for ANoTHEr TYrE wAr? OPINION OPINION MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor