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MD Readers Respond: Will Spec Tires Make a Difference in MotoGP?

We didn’t let it ride very long, but yesterday’s article about the spec tire rule change for MotoGP in 2009 has already prompted some interesting reader responses. Here are the unedited responses.

  • I don’t think it is going to make much difference in the overall results. There may be a few other riders who are more competitive in given races than they would have been, but Rossi and Stoner are the cream of the crop and will continue to dominate.

  • Rossi will still be dominant (after all he is Rossi). Stoner will still challenge. Puige will still make excuses. There will be some shuffling of the ranks behind them, and Nicky will be the wild card next year.

  • In my view, Rossi is simply in a class by himself. If everyone had exactly the same bike and tires, in my view Rossi would win every time. A rider of his caliber only comes along every so often. I compare him to Michael Schumacher in Formula one who also was in a class of his own. These type of individuals are still able to win with lessor equipment as we saw with Michael Schumacher when he was with Beneton instead of Williams which was the top team at the time. Casey Stoner is also without a doubt a very special rider as only he has been able to conquer the Ducati the way he has (with the exception of Troy Bayliss who came to MotoGP for one race and won). That being said I do believe having one spec tire will make the series more competitive as one has seen in World Superbike where there are always at least 10 riders that could win on any given weekend.

  • I honestly don’t think much will change with the spec tires, be them faster or slower. As Jeremy Burgess eloquently put it “The cream will always rise to the top”.

  • Hard to say, but at least everyone will have the same tires available, so no one will have an advantage like in the past.

  • I’ve never been a fan of one-brand anything. In an open class venue as MotoGP, there should be as few restrictions as possible. Mandating one-brand rubber takes away from the overall competitive nature of each team and their suppliers to mix and match components searching for the winning combination. What’s next, one brand engine? Other than displacement limits few things should be mandated in that class. But what’s done is done.

    Talent-wise I believe Rossi and Stoner are at the top of their game. On any given day there can be other riders on the podium but I don’t believe the rubber is the deciding factor on who crosses the finish line first. When you see Rossi move up through the pack to challenge for the lead you know why he is “the” Doctor!

    NASCAR has been criticized as late of becoming a celebrity show of drivers who just happen to drive cars. Many manufacturers are rethinking their involvement and benefit there. MotoGP should be all about leading technology when mixed with above average riders provides honest competition between manufacturers.

  • Rossi and Stoner have already proven themselves on Bridgestone Tires and are way ahead of the rest of the field that are beginning to test the tires. Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Hayden are going through the learning curve of the new spec tire and have subtancial testing to do. It will be up to the individuals and their team effort to close the gap between the experienced and the newbies.

  • Either way, it will make the racing more exciting. I’m so tired of watching two classes run at the same time: Who’s leading in “Michelin”? Who’s leading overall? Enough already; race!

  • I think GP is an open class and the teams should be able to do what they want when they want change from race to race if they please. They may be able to do that now I do not know but the sponsers should not be able to choose one team they should have to be open to all riders.

  • I’m not sure that that’s the point. I don’t mind that these to riders are winning races, but I would like to see races more like this years Laguna Seca. Where they raced for the win.
    The sad thing about it was that race could have been even better if the tires had not been a problem for the half the riders, it might have been a 3 or 4 way fight for the win. The best racing all year was WSB, there was many different people that won, & lots that where able to win. Was cool to watch a race & not know who would win till the end. The worst is the AMA, I so hope the DMG can get that racing fixed. I don’t take any thing away from Mat & Ben, they are very strong riders, but I never cheer so hard as when any one else get out front. I long so much to see any team step up & find some one or some thing to run with them. I can’t under stand why that team was not moved up to fix Suzuki’s Moto GP team if there so good at there jobs, they should have moved up, team rides all of them. Next year is going to be fun to see how all the new changes work out. Moto GP may still be the best of two riders, but I think things are going to be much harder for any one to win the title till the last race , or at least I hope. May the best team win.

  • Mr. Pedrosa, that charming, oh so humble gentleman, whose contract specified that he would get all the data from other honda team riders, but none of his would be shared… was being provided michelin tires especially tailored for him and his riding style. Generic tires, not specifically tailored for his riding style would seem to put him on a more even competive plain with the other riders – and less special advantage. Such a tragedy, I’d say. Nicky, on the other hand, might benefit.

  • I think ducati will be hard to beat next year, It will be a bit of a journey for the other teams if they get new bikes and then have to find out what the new tires can do. I always hope for Rossi, but I think Stoner will be a force unleashed. I really like Hayden and the ducati might fit his point and shoot style of riding better than the honda. Closer to the end of the year for Hayden to get up front again though, he is a great rider but he is methodical in his approach to learning. I think once he gets his confidence in the bike and tires he will be battling with the best of them. Pedrosa now will be there as well as his last performances have shown but he is not going to beat the yamaha or ducati on his present bike. He gets out front fast and it looks like he will be competitive but fades after a few laps. If Honda gets it worked out though who knows. All the riders are fast, its a matter of getting what they can ride fast under them. I am happy about the one tire for all bikes this year. It was frustrating watching fast riders go slow because the tires wouldn’t let them. I want to see them all be fast, makes the racing more entertaining. would be great if Kawasaki could start making a face in front. It wont hurt Michelin sales for bike tires. I have a set on my bike and I wouldn’t switch. I own a Kawasaki zx10r.

  • I really don’t think it will make to much difference to the outcome of the 2009 season what tyres are used – OK fair enough a control tyre situation does put everyone ona a certain level of traction – BUT that is where it ENDS …. It then comes down to Rider ability and the development and power / handling of the bikes… You only have to look at 2008 and Ducati team to draw a comparison of things – Basically Stoner and Melandri had the same bikes, tyres and team backing, it’s just that Melandri couldn’t come to terms with the Ducati and Casey Stoner certainly could….

    The Ducati factory race team would certainly have liked for a Italian rider to win a MotoGP World Championship for them but that was impossible even for Loris Cappirossi and Marco Melandri – they both couldn’t come to grips with the bike and had very little success for Ducati. Casey Stoner on the other hand has won a World Championship for Ducati in 2007 – and I am sure that Ducati were glad they signed Stoner up to race their bikes….

    Rider talent and skill are pre-requisets for any form of motorcycle racing and there are some exceptionally good riders in the competition – and having a control tyre will, as I said, play only a small part in the outcome of the 2009 season …. It will come down to rider talent followed closely by manufacturer’s engineering ability.

    I do believe that we will be witness to some of the World’s Best Motorcycle Racing that has ever been.

    PS – Australia has certainly had some exceptional riders… you would have to agree…..

  • Why not just mandate spec bikes?

  • Rossi and Stoner will still be the dominant forces, but Danni could be a spoiler. Lorenzo, when healthy, will podium quite often as well. As for Hayden, I’m hoping “stones” and Ducati put him back on the podium with more frequency, but I doubt he’ll play a factor. Would love to eat my words though.

  • “Based on WSBK employing ‘control’ PIRELLI tires since 2004 during ALL events these past seasons, ABSOLUTELY!”
    Within MotoGP, Pedrosa astride his Bridgestone fitted HONDA was clearly faster than stablemate Hayden on MICHELIN wares.
    Same with YAMAHA mounted Rossi (BRIDGESTONE) and teammate Lorenso (MICHELIN), NOT the cycle. At VALENCIA finishers 1) Stoner (Ducati) 2) Pedrosa (HONDA) and 3) Rossi (YAMAHA) were fitted with BRIDGESTONE brand tires exclusively relegating MICHELIN teams to ‘bystanders’. A ‘control’ tire has proved to ‘equal the competitors’ within series employing such,

  • I’m sick of people thinking the tires are what makes the difference in MotoGP. Sure Bridgestone finished one and two this year, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Lorenzo was first until he got hurt. Then Pedrosa was in first until he crashed and got injured. If that was Stoner and Rossi that missed races it would be a differnt story. Riders win championships. Bikes and tires can lose a championship, but there is enough compitition that they can’t win a championship without a great rider. Stoner won in 07 becasue he was a better rider not cause he had better bike and tires.

  • Despite the change to all Bridgestones in 2009, the top 5 spots will remain the same. Rossi and Stoner are on a different level compared to the other combatants.

  • Of course Rossi and Stoner will continue to be the top 2 riders. But by going to a single tire supplier, it will prevent fiascos like what happened at Laguna and Brno from being repeated. Michelin has negatively affected the championship with inferior tires for the last 2 seasons. Rossi most likely would not be the 2008 Champion if he had stuck with Michelin. That is significant.