MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi believes that tyre evolution is the main reason why there has been a lack of close racing in MotoGP for the past two seasons.
There has been a distinct drop in the amount of overtaking and close racing in MotoGP ever since the switch from 990 to 800cc engines in 2007. Whilst most blame the capacity change, Rossi is more specific - stating that the problem is actually tyre technology raising cornering speeds and reducing braking distances.
“In the last few years there have been races, especially since the arrival of the 800cc motorcycle, with a lot less close racing and I think that this is mostly to do with the evolution of the tyres,” said the Fiat Yamaha star. “Now in the corners we're very fast and so there is less time to try to overtake.”
With a new single tyre rule being introduced for MotoGP in 2009, the opportunity exists for Bridgestone to follow Rossi's advice and help improve the show by building tyres with less cornering performance.
This has already taken place to a certain degree, with Bridgestone reducing the overall grip level of its tyres in order to make them compatible with all machines and riders.
Rossi believes the show will improve in 2009 as a result of the single tyre rule, but isn't sure quite how much difference it will make.
“I think that there will be a better show because everyone will have the same tyre,” Rossi declared. “With the monotyre, for better or for worse and considering the show, during the last few laps of the race the bike will move around a bit more and so you will have to go a little bit slower. This will probably produce closer battles. We hope so!”
“The mono tyre rule gave rise to a great deal of discussion, but it came at the right moment [given the global financial crisis],” added Rossi's team manager Davide Brivio. “As a consequence there has been a reduction in testing, which is exactly what was needed. I think it's been a happy coincidence, very welcome.
“Everybody expects there to be more of a show with this rule change, but I don't believe things will change that much, as the strongest riders will keep racing competitively and the others will lag behind.