Less than 24 hours after Casey Stoner took victory in the final race of the 2008 season, Bridgestone's preparations for the 2009 season got underway with a test at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia on Monday and Tuesday.
Bridgestone will be the sole tyre supplier for the MotoGP championship from 2009 and the Valencia test marked the first chance to evaluate new specification tyres with almost all teams and riders for next year (only Tech 3 Yamaha was missing).
A total of 18 riders participated in the test on Monday, some of whom had were making their debut for new teams whilst others were enjoying their first ever taste of MotoGP machinery.
In accordance with the agreed tyre restrictions for the test, Bridgestone supplied a total of just 12 slick tyres to each rider, consisting of two different front and rear specifications.
The introduction of the sole tyre supply regulation for 2009 will see a dramatic reduction in the total number of tyres available for each rider during the race weekend (20 each is rumoured) so tyres will have to operate within a wider working range with a greater level of durability.
This reduction in tyre options has led to concerns by some riders and commentators that the rubber available would only suit the class 'stars', whilst the cut in numbers might force riders to sit in the pits rather than 'burn rubber' out on track.
Neither of these concerns materialised during the Monday test, with most riders, teams and manufacturers - even those without prior Bridgestone experience - pleasantly surprised by the grip and durability of the tyres on offer.
Nevertheless, some riders are reserving final judgement until they have tested at several different tracks and all teams will need to change their bikes in some way to maximise the new tyre characteristics.
Meanwhile, Bridgestone has also reduced the maximum level of grip of the tyres in a concerted effort to assist the sport's governing body in its drive for improved safety, through reduced cornering speeds. That didn't stop most riders lapping faster in the test than they had in the race though, partly due to improved track conditions.