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Austin MotoGP: Riders unhappy at Bridgestone switch

“It will shut up some riders from whingeing and I'm quite excited to just get through this weekend and go back to the 2014 spec” – Bradley Smith.
Bridgestone's decision to switch back to 2013 medium compound rubber for this weekend's Austin MotoGP got a thumbs down from leading riders on Thursday.

Changes for this season have seen MotoGP's exclusive tyre supplier move to more heat resistant rear rubber. However the likes of double world champion Jorge Lorenzo have struggled badly with the resulting reduction in edge grip and the Spaniard has long campaigned for a change.

The other Yamaha riders also initially battled to adapt to the new spec tyres, but Lorenzo's Factory team-mate Valentino Rossi and Tech 3 Yamaha's Bradley Smith were both unhappy at the switch after finally getting on top of the latest tyre characteristics.

“From my side I'm not happy to use the old tyre. I don't like,” said Rossi. “I want to use the new one and for me what Bridgestone do this weekend, bringing the old tyre again after we worked a lot on the bike to use the new tyre, is something that sincerely I don't understand. But this is the tyre so we will try to use.”

“The good thing is I think that the 2013 tyre being here will clarify everything for Bridgestone,” declared Smith, who claimed his first front row start in Qatar. “The new 2014 tyres are much better, especially in race conditions. So I think it will shut up some riders from whingeing and I'm quite excited to just get through this weekend and go back to the 2014 spec.”

Lorenzo was yet to give his response, but Repsol Honda's reigning world champion Marc Marquez was also against the move.

“I don't agree with it. I don't understand honestly, but anyway some riders complained. Not many but some and now here we will have 2013,” commented the Spaniard. “But anyway we raced the hard tyre in Qatar and here looks warm, so we will try to manage. Anyway last year the hard tyre was working well here.”

Marquez beat Rossi to victory by just 0.259s for victory during round one in Qatar, having been the only rider to choose the harder tyre option. Marquez also bucked the trend by using the hard tyre for his debut victory one year ago in Austin and Rossi revealed he plans to evaluate the tactic.

“We hope for a dry race,” began Rossi, referring to reports of possible rain on Sunday. “The tyre choice is always difficult and we need to understand in a good way because Marc in Qatar was able to use the hard tyre. So I think we have to concentrate a bit more on the hard and try to understand if it is possible, because for sure with the soft it will be difficult.”

Bridgestone's pre-event press release made no mention of the 2013 rubber.

Tagged as: Bridgestone

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April 11, 2014 4:36 AM

I think this is an absolute load of sh!t3. In 2012 Stoner complained that they softened the tyre and killed any feeling he had out of it, he got told to shut up and ride the stupid thing, as you recall, he was nowhere near as competitive that year. Cut to 2014, Lorenzo has a similar whinge about a crap new tyre, and he gets his way?!? What tosh.


April 11, 2014 5:26 AM

We the fans have had enough for one season, let alone 2 races in. Just stick to the effin plan. I'm tired of platforms for rider excuses. Yes this is seemingly for JLo, either way it's more blatant rule changing on the fly. Let's have maybe 3 weeks without a drastic change ey?

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