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Leaders further ahead at Qatar 2009.

Monday's season-opening Qatar night race was the first event of the single-tyre MotoGP era, with all 18 riders offered the same limited range of tyres for the first time.

As well as reducing costs, it was hoped that the move would make the racing closer, after two seasons dominated by drawn-out runaway wins since the switch to 800cc engines.

However despite having the same tyres available to all, and satellite teams getting machinery closer to factory spec (all the Honda and Yamaha teams now have pneumatic-valve engines for example) this year's Qatar Grand Prix saw the leaders break away even further than before, with a knock on effect throughout the field.

Casey Stoner had to fight his way back from a bad start to win in 2008, but led the 2009 race from start to finish. Both seasons saw 17 riders reach the finish.

Victory margin: 5.323sec (2008) - 7.771sec (2009)
Podium margin: 10.600sec (2008) - 16.244sec (2009)
Top 6: 14.040sec (2008) - 29.883sec (2009)
Top 10: 38.354sec (2008) - 42.284sec (2009)
Top 15: 58.930sec (2008) - 1min 0.286sec (2009)
1st to 17th (last): 1 lap* (2008) - 1min 15.028 (2009)

* Chris Vermeulen had to make a pit stop.

However, the gap did close significantly for those fighting in the 'mid-pack' - behind Stoner, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

4th to 10th: 25.066sec (2008) - 17.874sec (2009)
4th to 15th: 45.642sec (2008) - 35.876sec (2009)

No real conclusions can be drawn from one race (especially a night race, being run one day late after a desert rainstorm) - except that the likes of Stoner, Rossi and Lorenzo will be fast whatever tyres they are on.

Meanwhile, Bridgestone expressed satisfaction with its single-tyre debut, although made no reference to the lack of close racing at the front.

“I am happy with the new regulations and I think they worked well in Qatar,” said Tohru Ubukata, manager of Bridgestone's Motorcycle Race Tyre Development. “I believe we made the correct selection of two compounds for this first race, and I believe that these options also were ok for the teams. With just 20 tyres per rider, every team had sufficient to complete the race weekend, even though it was extended by one day, so I think new regulation is working ok.”

“I am pleased that we have been able to meet the task of providing a consistent control tyre and I am pleased we have completed this weekend with no problems,” stated said Hiroshi Yamada, manager of Bridgestone's Motorcycle Sport Unit.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Stoner, Qatar MotoGP 2009
Stoner, Crutchlow, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Dovizioso, Stoner, Crutchlow, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Stoner, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Dall`Igna, Stoner, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Casey Stoner, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Dall’Igna and Stoner
Zarco, tyre after race, Valencia Moto2 race 2016
Lorenzo`s Michelin Tyre post race, Valencia MotoGP, 2016
Morbidelli, tyre, Valencia Moto2 race 2016
Rossi, tyre change, Valencia MotoGP 2016
Stoner, Valencia MotoGP 2016
Tyre wall, sunset, Valencia MotoGP 2016
Michelin intermediate tyre, Malaysian MotoGP, 2016
MIchelin tyre technician, Australian MotoGP. 22nd October 2016
MIchelin tyre technician, Australian MotoGP. 22nd October 2016
Sam Lowes, Australian Moto2 2016
Michelin wet tyre, British MotoGP, 2016

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Super ted - Unregistered

April 16, 2009 2:54 PM

I didnt really think the tyre rule would make much difference, the guys who were faster will still be faster, but at least we wont have seperate race within a race fiasco of brno and laguna etc. I hope this distance between all the riders will be reduced though, it seemed almost everyone had a lonely race at qatar. Its funny that motop is becoming more boring like F1 with every race, yet F1 is getting stronger and more entertaining with the new rules and control on electronics and lack of traction control, and with wsb getting better race by race i think motogp needs a big shake up if they want to survive. bring back 990's/ no tc maybe ?????

Alan - Unregistered

April 16, 2009 4:03 PM

Dont think we should be worried about the tyres giving us closer racing, i still think the electronics need to be gotton rid of all together, that race was boring, they picked up were they left off in spain last year, it needs to change



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