Race Direction has issued the following statement, regarding the unique race format for Sunday's Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.
As rumoured, all riders will be forced to make a pit stop to change bikes, due to problems with tyres overheating on the resurfaced circuit.
In other words the race will roughly follow the 'flag-to-flag' format, normally used for wet/dry races, but on this occasion riders can change from slicks to slicks and must not do more than 14 laps on one set of tyres.
The full statement from Race Direction is as follows:
"We have been notified by Bridgestone that they are unable to guarantee safety of their rear slick tyres beyond 14 laps. It has therefore been decided to make the following changes to the MotoGP class race in the interests of the safety of the riders.
"1. The race distance will be 26 laps.
"2. Every rider will be required to enter the pits and change to his second machine with fresh tyres at least once during the race.
"3. No rider is permitted to make more than 14 laps on any one slick rear tyre. This means that a bike/tyre change before lap 12 will require a second bike/tyre change to finish the race.
"4. Riders using “Factory” and “Satellite” machines will be required to use the “hard” option tyre (B51DR). Extra quantity will be allocated by Bridgestone.
"5. Riders using CRT machines will be required to use CRT “hard” option tyre (B50DR). Extra quantity will be allocated by Bridgestone.
"6. The pit lane speed limit zone will be extended both on entry and exit, and the exit route to rejoin the track will be marked by a white line in the runoff area. Crossing this line whilst rejoining the track from pit lane will result in a penalty."
Bridgestone's Shinji Aoki said: "We anticipated tyre temperatures would be higher this year at Phillip Island, but not to the extreme levels we have seen this weekend. After analysing the used tyres after today's sessions, we have decided that the maximum safe distance that our rear slick tyres can be run is 14 laps. Following discussions between Bridgestone, Dorna and the FIM on how to best manage rider safety for the race, it was race direction's decision to make tomorrow's race a flag-to-flag contest."
Second on the grid Marc Marquez could be crowned world champion on Sunday, if he builds his title lead from 43 to 51 points. Nearest rival Jorge Lorenzo starts on pole with Dani Pedrosa, the final rider still in mathematical contention, in fifth.
Phillip Island hosted the very first 'flag-to-flag' MotoGP race to feature bike-swaps in 2006.