By Stephen English
If Friday's mixed weather conditions are repeated in Sunday's Spanish MotoGP, riders could have their hands full controlling tyre life.
World champion Casey Stoner has been outspoken in the past about wet weather tyres and the Australian is still unhappy with the latest offering from Bridgestone.
The allocated wet compound for Jerez has been changed from soft to hard for 2012 and, whilst Bridgestone was pleased with its Friday performance under the circumstances, Stoner said the tyre was struggling to cope with the mixed conditions.
“These tyres destroy themselves very easily,” said Stoner, fourth fastest in a Friday afternoon session led by team-mate Dani Pedrosa. “We brought the harder compound here and in some ways it should last longer, but because we get less traction you're just spinning more.”
Last year's race, held in similar wet-dry-wet conditions, was blighted by numerous falls and the change to bigger 1000cc engines has only increased the amount of wheelspin.
“With the 1000s the more you're spinning the more temperature that you're putting in the tyre,” continued the Repsol Honda rider. “The last four laps we did today we were spinning the whole of the front and back straight.”
Stoner added that he, “short shifted and used 50% throttle” at times, but was still suffering from a lack of traction and concluded that “it's not looking good for the life of the tyre if its 50/50 conditions.”
His concerns were shared by others, including Ducati's Valentino Rossi, who is already weighing up the cost of changing tyres, in relation to staying out on the 'wrong' tyre.
“For the strategy we will make a calculation on what you lose from going slow compared to stop and change the tyres,” he said.
With tyre wear sure to be a major issue if the race is run in mixed conditions, Rossi went on to say that “maybe we have to go slower” in a bid to save tyre life for the duration of the race.
Under the newly revised tyre rules, riders now have the option of replacing a maximum of two sets of their wet tyres with an alternative compound (which at Jerez is the soft compound) for the rest of the weekend.
Previously, riders had access to only one wet tyre compound per race.