by Peter McLaren

One of the most significant rule changes ahead of the 2005 MotoGP season has been the new 'no stopping for rain' directive, which means that dry premier-class races will no longer be stopped should rain fall.

The rule has effectively brought MotoGP in line with leading four-wheeled sports, such as Formula One, where drivers change tyres at their own discretion - and under full racing conditions. It also means that restarted 'sprint races', as seen at Mugello last year, will be a thing of the past.

However, many are asking what exactly the MotoGP teams and riders will do when its starts raining during a race - will they change tyres, tyres and brakes (carbon to steel discs and pads to match) or could the rider even be allowed to switch to a different bike with a full wet set-up ready to go?

Given such possibilities, asked IRTA's Mike Trimby for his opinion on what will happen in the case of rain interrupting a dry MotoGP race this year - and it seems that the former option is most likely.

"The regulation envisages that, in the case of rain, the riders come in and change wheels," Trimby explained. "Change of machine is not allowed."

But, with MotoGP races around half the length of an F1 race - making time lost in the pits harder to recover by the chequered flag - and refuelling not needed, another theory is that tyre manufacturers could offer some form of intermediate, grooved, tyre when rain is a realistic possibility.

This tyre could be ridden 'competitively' in either the wet or dry, thereby avoiding the need for a costly pit stop.

"Choice of tyre in marginal conditions will become more critical and I imagine that the tyre companies may well be working on compromise solutions," commented Trimby. "The same will apply to brakes where carbon brakes are not supposed to work well in rain."

The 2005 MotoGP World Championship will start with the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on April 10 - a wet race one year ago.



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