Bridgestone will trial its new range of softer compound rear tyres designed specifically for the CRT bikes at Sepang this week, as a further attempt to bring the production-powered machines up to speed alongside their full prototype rivals.

The first time Bridgestone has offered different specification tyres for the privater bikes, the five-day Sepang test - which kicks off today with a handful of CRT machines testing Magnetti Marelli's compulsory ECU - will see the CRTs handed a softer rear slick.

The new slicks use a normal construction to that of the rest of the field, but will ultilise a compound one step softer than the 'works' factory and satellite bikes.

For example, at Sepang, the 'works' bikes will be allocated the medium and hard compound slicks while the CRT machines will be supplied with slick options that are one step softer; soft and medium.

Working closely with Dorna and the FIM to determine whether these tyres will be made available for the upcoming season, Bridgestone is using the Sepang test as the first major trial.

Bridgestone's other off-season development, a revised hard rubber compound, is slightly softer in composition moving it closer to the medium specification compound.

"The first group test of the year will certainly be busy, as all twenty-four full-time riders in MotoGP this season will take part, as well as five test riders, making a total of twenty-nine participants," said Bridgestone manager Hiroshi Yamada.

"It is pleasing that so many riders will take to the track in Malaysia as it shows that despite the difficult economic climate at the moment, the MotoGP championship is in good health and continues to grow.

"Bridgestone has a full testing plan in place for this first test which is a key event in our ongoing tyre development programme."

Yamada added that new tyre markings are on the horizon - a white line around the rim is currently used to identify the softer specification slicks.

"We are also looking at ways to revise our tyre marking system to make tyre identification easier for the media and fans, the first step of this process will take place at Sepang next week."