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Uncertain Shanghai weather kept tyre companies guessing

Uncertain Shanghai weather kept tyre companies guessing

Bridgestone and Michelin left to take gambles on dry tyres and compounds, with threat of rain in Shanghai.

The arrival of rain at the Shanghai International Circuit meant that MotoGP tyre manufacturers had a difficult choice to make when recommending tyres to their riders. Coming as it did in the early hours of Sunday, precipitation was a big worry for both Bridgestone and Michelin after the previous two days of dry sessions.

Most riders went with a softer compound to counteract the damp track, although with a lack of rain and a dry line –courtesy of the 125cc and 250cc riders- appearing, such a gamble didn´t pay off for everyone.

Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso both admitted on Sunday afternoon that they regretted going with a different rubber choice than that of the practice sessions, dropping their pace in the final stages of the race. However, one rider certainly content was eventual race winner Valentino Rossi, taking his first victory since switching to Bridgestone.

`The tyre choice was not so easy with the morning rain which left track conditions much cooler than at any other time over the weekend, but the results show some impressive performances by a lot of Bridgestone riders even with the changed conditions,´ notes Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Race Tyre Development.

`Our tyre fitters and engineers had to prepare more tyres than usual because of the changed weather and they did an excellent job to cover all eventualities at the start of the race.´

Rossi´s pace had been consistent throughout the weekend, and his tyres also held up under the far colder conditions of the Sunday race to further aid his pace. Like Stoner, he used a slick medium for both his front and rear selection. Michelin-shod podium finisher Dani Pedrosa, meanwhile, made no alterations to the choice made on Saturday, and his rostrum result was pleasing for Michelin´s Director of Motorcycle Racing, Jean-Phillipe Weber.

`Obviously we were most concerned about the weather, because it looked like it might rain again during the race. Luckily it stayed dry, apart from a few drops of rain, but the conditions were much cooler than Saturday,´ explains Weber.

`The track temperature on Sunday was 25 degrees, while on Saturday it was 48 degrees. Dani chose to race the same tyres he chose on Saturday, so this was a good test for our tyres. He was very fast from the start, which proved the warm-up performance of our tyres, and was then able to fight for the lead throughout, which proved that our tyres now have an excellent operating range, considering that the track was 23 degrees cooler.

Of the four different winners from the opening quartet of races, two (Stoner and Rossi) have been running Bridgestone tyres and the other two (Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo) using Michelin rubber.

MotoGP, 2008

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