Update: The final decision was to have a flag-to-flag race of 26-laps, with all riders forced to pull into the pits and change to their spare bike within 14 laps. Only the hard rear tyre can be used.

MotoGP may be forced to join Moto2 in reducing the number of race laps for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, or even more radical measures, due to tyre concerns.

The new Phillip Island surface has been praised by the riders but has caused tyre overheating issues, prompting the all-Dunlop Moto2 class to cut its race length from 25 to just 13 laps.

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Bridgestone has already specified that all MotoGP riders must race with the harder option rear tyre, but that may not be enough.

The three options now under consideration are:
1. A shorter race of around 14 (instead of 27) laps.
2. A flag-to-flag race where riders will swap to their spare bike in the pits at half distance.
3. Two shorter races.

Pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo explained: "It seems no tyre is working to finish the race, so I don't know what they are going to decide. In my opinion one or two short races would be the best option, because the exit from pit lane is a little dangerous for flag-to-flag. Turn one is a very quick corner."

Asked how two races would be scored, Yamaha's reigning double champion - who trails Marc Marquez by 43 points in the title standings - joked: "For my interest, 25 points + 25 points with a double bonus! But seriously, for me one race of 14 laps would be better, or for the spectators two races."

Rookie Marquez qualified alongside Lorenzo in second place for what will be his first of three chances to secure the 2013 title.

"It won't be easy, I would prefer a normal race, but we are in this situation with the rear tyres," said Marquez, who has never taken part in a bike swap race. "It looks like a shorter race or flag-to-flag. At the moment it looks like flag-to-flag. I would prefer one race."

The present flag-to-flag rules are aimed at addressing weather changes and force riders to change tyres (dry to wet or vice versa) when they change bikes. Swapping from one 'slick' bike to another is not presently possible. However the latest in a series of Saturday rule announcements appears to have cleared the way for Race Direction to make almost any change needed:

"To deal with unexpected situations at specific events, particularly those that might affect the safety of the riders, it has been agreed to extend the competence of Race Direction," said the Grand Prix Commission statement. "A new regulation has been approved to allow Race Direction to issue instructions to teams and riders at any single event which may not be in accordance with current sporting and/or technical regulations."

That announcement clears the way for the final decision on Sunday's unusual race format, expected shortly.

Seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, who will join Lorenzo and Marquez on the front row of the grid, explained how they had run out of tyre options.

"This track is very particular and with the new surface the rear tyre becomes too hot," Rossi began. "So yesterday they [Bridgestone] said we have to use the hard rear. It was good, but it was not enough to fix the problem. Then this morning we tried the extra hard. The feeling on the bike was not so bad, but unfortunately the extra hard is also not the answer. After some laps we have the same problem.

"Now we have to wait to see what they decide for the race [format]. All three options have some good and bad things. For safety, the easiest is a half-race distance. But we can do everything - all three options are okay for me. It is a strange situation and a pity because the track and new asphalt is fantastic."

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, fifth on the grid, confirmed: "All the tyres have problems; no matter which bike or rider and also in Moto2. The asphalt has more grip and in this temperature the tyre does not cool down enough. We used all the tyre specifications and pressures that Bridgestone have said and nothing was lasting long enough. So now it looks like there's a chance that the race will be different to normal."

The extra hard rear tyre - not planned to be used this weekend - had been rolled out as a last resort for final practice after the problems with the medium and hard rubber.

However Cal Crutchlow - who will join Pedrosa on row two of Sunday's grid - suffered visible chunking problems on the left-hand side and the extra hard compound has been withdrawn. Indeed, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider said he preferred the softest option.

"If I had my choice I'd probably still run the softer tyre. The problem is with the harder tyre and not the soft as far as I am aware. No tyre had any problem except the extra hard that they gave me [in final practice].

"So I think we should be allowed to run what we want, but I don't think that will be the case and everyone will be made to run a certain tyre. It's very difficult because Bridgestone haven't been here and it's the same in Moto2 [for Dunlop]. So we'll wait and see what the decision will be."

But while a tyre may look visibly okay on the outside, Bridgestone had arrived at their decision after cutting open the Friday tyres for examination.

Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso confirmed: "The hardest tyre was the worst to see on the outside, but every tyre they cut they saw the blisters yesterday. When we made a good lap time at the end of the practice Bridgetone said that the inside was not OK and they said that more than 14 laps was not good."

Team-mate Nicky Hayden was more sceptical.

"I'd like to see my tyre because I don't have any problems with tyres," said the American, who qualified as the top Ducati in eighth. "I think it's tough to penalise some guys [and make them use the hard compound] but safety is the highest thing and we've got a responsibility to put on a show for the fans and for TV so it's a tricky situation.

"I haven't blistered any tyres. I think flag-to-flag is the best option. The fans don't want to see a 12 lap race and flag-to-flag could be even more exciting if it bunches everyone back up. This is probably one of the worst pit roads to do a flag-to-flag on, but hopefully the guys will be spread out."

Update: The final decision was to have a flag-to-flag race of 26-laps, with all riders forced to pull into the pits and change to their spare bike within 14 laps.