The best news from MotoGP Silverstone


It was very nearly all good news at Silverstone…

A properly thrilling MotoGP race, reminiscent of the glory days of the 1990s, thanks mostly to Marc Márquez for shaking things up and spurring Jorge Lorenzo to ever greater heights.

A stunning win from Scott Redding – a kid from a tough background “trying to make something of my life”.

Warm summer sunshine, great crowd and no one too badly hurt in any of the crashes, including that idiotic pile-up at the end of Moto2 warm-up, the kind of accident that can leave people in a very bad way. The guilty party Dani Rivas suffered a fractured shoulder, while one of his victims, Steven Odendaal suffered a fractured ankle.

The only really bad news for British GP fans was Cal Crutchlow’s bruising two days tasting the Silverstone tarmac, gravel traps and grass verges. And his bad news is somewhat linked to the really good news, which is coming up next.

Crutchlow crashed twice on Saturday morning and once again on Sunday morning. In other words, all three tumbles came in cool conditions. He was far from alone in warm-up which was eight degrees cooler than any other session; Marc Márquez, Yonny Hernández, Michele Pirro and Nicky Hayden all joined him on the ground as they found out that their tyres weren’t as hot as they’d have liked them to be.

Nothing new there, we are all entirely accustomed to a bit of carnage when track temperatures fall to a certain level and Bridgestone’s slicks become tricky to bring up to operating temperature. There can hardly be a rider on the grid who hasn’t been punished by these circumstances over the last few years.

MotoGP bosses have been pushing Bridgestone to improve the situation for some time. The riders also complain, but not enough. Perhaps they are inured to the problem, like racers of the ‘60s and ‘70s, who were too often hurled to their fate by two-stroke seizures. Back then, it took years of development in metallurgy, carburation and lubrication to solve that particular problem. It’s much easier to solve the current tyre problem. And finally it looks like a solution may be on the way.

The best news of the whole weekend came the day after race day when Bridgestone told me they are soon to offer riders a new type of rear slick that shouldn’t be so difficult to bring up to temperature.

The tyre – which uses a different construction and can be applied to all compounds – will be tested by riders at the post-San Marino GP tests at Misano on September 16.

Hopefully it will do the trick. However, I believe that the current allocation of two different compounds at each GP just isn’t enough to cover all potential temperatures. Currently, riders get a choice of three front slicks, from which they must choose two, according to the weather forecast, before practice gets underway. But they only get two rears.

The solution to the problems would surely be to offer three compounds, front and rear, available all weekend at all GPs. Bridgestone even have a softer rear slick ready to go – the softer compound tyre that’s allocated to the less powerful CRT bikes.

Building more tyres will, of course, cost more, but surely costs are immaterial when life and limb is at stake, and surely they wouldn’t be hard to recoup if you consider the damage done to machinery. What would be the estimate to fix the M1 that Crutchlow destroyed in his 183mph crash in FP3 at Silverstone? Half a million quid, a million?

We already know Bridgestone can make the world’s best motorcycle racing tyres. Wouldn’t it be great if they made them available?

Click here to read more from Mat Oxley on MotoGP

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