The lack of tire testing prior to the Phillip Island round has caught both control tire companies out. As such, Race Direction has decided to shorten the Moto2 race from 25 to just 13 laps, while the MotoGP race will now include a compulsory pit stop to swap bikes, and the race length has been cut by one lap from 27 to 26 laps.

In addition, the MotoGP riders are prohibited from using the softer option rear tire, and will be forced to use the harder option. Both decisions were taken on safety grounds, after it was found that neither the Moto2-spec Dunlop nor the MotoGP-spec Bridgestone can handle race distance on the newly-resurfaced tarmac.

The lighter, less powerful Moto3 bike are not affected, and the Moto3 race will run the scheduled length.

The compulsory pit stop to swap bikes, turning the race into a dry-weather flag-to-flag race for the first time in MotoGP history. This will be a repeat for the Australian circuit, as it also hosted the first flag-to-flag race where riders actually swapped bikes back in 2006, the year the rules were first introduced.

It turned out then that Phillip Island’s narrow pit lane made the bike swaps rather hazardous, and the rules laid out for Sunday’s MotoGP race will only make a tricky situation much, much worse. Bridgestone is unable to guarantee the safety of the tires beyond 14 laps, and so that means that all 23 MotoGP riders will be in the pits between the end of lap 12 and the end of lap 14.

There is a good chance that the vast majority of the riders will come in either on lap 12 or lap 13, however, to give them the best shot at maintaining their position. With the dry surface dictating the lap time, there is no advantage to be gained from staying out an extra lap, or pitting early.

An attempt to mitigate the danger, the speed limited area of the pit lane has been extended. However, this wil see bikes both braking closer to the racing line to pit, and rejoining at slower speed on the outside of the extremely fast first corner.

The problems with the tires were both predictable and avoidable. The Phillip Island circuit was resurfaced at the end of last year, creating a slightly grippier surface, but more importantly, a much faster track after most of the bumps had been removed.

Phillip Island is always a critical circuit for tires, because of the high speeds involved, but with a smoother surface, the track was always going to be even quicker.

The weight rules in both Moto2 and MotoGP have also changed, with the introduction of a combined rider/weight limit in Moto2, and the addition of 3kg extra to the MotoGP machines. More weight and more speed was always going to create more stress on the tires.

Earlier in the year, when World Superbike raced at the circuit, there were already problems with the spec Pirellis which that series runs, the World Supersport race being cut to 15 laps, as it had been a year earlier. Despite this warning, neither Dunlop nor Bridgestone performed tire testing there, though Dunlop had some data on the new surface from the Australian Superbike series.

The irony is that MotoGP sent three riders to Argentina for tire testing at the new circuit (ostensibly at least, it became more of a spectacle to drum up enthusiasm for the circuit than a genuine tire test, given the greenness of the circuit), a track where the series will only race in 2014.

At a track where the series is set to race in 2013, where tire wear is known to be critical, and where a previous world championship series had also had problems, it appears to have been a very wrong decision not to go to Phillip Island for tire testing. While the single-tire rule was introduced for reasons of cost cutting, not testing in Australia has proven to be a false economy.

The shortening of the race has demonstrated once again that being the single-tire supplier to a series can easily turn into a PR disaster. When tire issues do occur, they generate much more negative publicity than they would receive when the tire supply is open. With the incentive of competition removed, the focus of a single-tire supplier shifts to finding ways of justifying the amount spent on the series.

That means that the focus on internal goals is much greater than that on pursuing performance. All costs are cut which are not perceived to be an immediate benefit for the tire supplier, and in this case, that has turned against the tire suppliers, both Bridgestone and Dunlop.

They look as if they are incapable of building a tire to cope with the circumstances, which is not the case. They simply did not spend the money to find out whether they needed to.

The role of Dorna and the Safety Commission is also in question. Dorna has employed ex-racer Loris Capirossi specifically to liaise with Bridgestone and flag up potential issues at circuits.

Nobody appears to have learned any lessons from the problems with World Superbike earlier in the year, and spotted that the new track surface, together with the increased weight of the bikes, could cause a potential issue.

Below Are the Press Releases Announcing the Changes:

Information From Race Direction


Phillip Island

We have been notified by Bridgestone that they are unable to guarantee safety of their rear slick tyres beyond 14 laps. It has therefore been decided to make the following changes to the MotoGP class race in the interests of the safety of the riders.

1. The race distance will be 26 laps.

2. Every rider will be required to enter the pits and change to his second machine with fresh tyres at least once during the race.

3. No rider is permitted to make more than 14 laps on any one slick rear tyre.This means that a bike/tyre change before lap 12 will require a second bike/tyre change to finish the race.

4. Riders using “Factory” and “Satellite” machines will be required to use the “hard” option tyre (B51DR). Extra quantity will be allocated by Bridgestone.

5. Riders using CRT machines will be required to use CRT “hard” option tyre (B50DR). Extra quantity will be allocated by Bridgestone.

6. The pit lane speed limit zone will be extended both on entry and exit, and the exit route to rejoin the track will be marked by a white line in the runoff area. Crossing this line whilst rejoining the track from pit lane will result in a penalty.

Race Direction

19th. October 2013


Following a formal request from the Official tyre supplier for the Moto2™ class, Race Direction has taken the decision to adjust the race length for the Moto2 class for the Tissot Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, 2013, according to Article 1.17.2 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.

The decision was taken in consultation with the Official Moto2 tyre supplier in the interests of rider safety.

The full race distance will be 13 laps, full Championship points will be awarded.

Teams are also reminded of the update to Article of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations. Tyres must be used within the parameters as advised by the Official tyre supplier and approved by the Technical Director. Usage parameters include tyre pressure and temperature.


Phillip Island, 19th October 2013

Decision Of The Grand Prix Commission

Phillip Island, 19 October

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in an electronic meeting held on 19th. October 2013 at Phillip Island, made the following decision:

Sporting Regulations

Effective Immediately

Currently the Race Direction is the only body competent to change the length of a race. This competence has been extended to authorise Race Direction to be able to change the length of a race outside of the minimum and maximum lengths defined elsewhere in the regulations.

Technical Regulations

Effective Immediately

There have been recent situations where teams and riders have ignored the recommendations of the official tyre suppliers on issues such as tyre pressures. It is suspected that this has led to cases of abnormal degradation of tyres affecting the safety of the riders.

A new regulation has been approved which will compel teams and riders to use the tyres according to the parameters agreed by the Technical Director and the organisers in consultation with the official tyre suppliers.

Photos: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Lovard

    Here’s hoping we see some rain clouds gathering, that ought to make life interesting for the mechanics and race indirection. Though, actually no, they’d probably just cut the race short wouldn’t they?

    Surely someone would have considered the conditions when building the tyres? It does get pretty warm there at times (right before and after it is freezing). I douubt very much the track is really that much more abrasive than anywhere else, it’s probably just a lot more abrasive than the slippery, bumpy old surface it was before 2013.

  • Mike

    This is going to get very messy with the back markers.

    Also viewing will be weird at best unless the whole front group goes in together

    It is hard to believe this change is being tossed on them now on the eve before the race…Nuts actually

  • Frank

    Yeah – @ Lovard, I was thinking of how this could turn out to be in some weird way, a positive change for the race- maybe if it started raining in lap 12 and the garages had the wet tires ready for the second half… but you’re right, they’d probably just red flag it. MAN, this is silly. Dorna blew it on this one. Press campaign (in the guise of tire testing) in Argentina for a 2014 GP and no tire testing after WSBK and WSS had so many issues at PI. Fail. A few guys on other sites have pointed out that Nicky could flip the bird to Dorna’s engine allocation rule and start with a fresh #6 for the second half of the race. I mean, he’d be starting from pit lane which is the stated penalty…?!?! Aah, there’s got to be some BS fine print in there somewhere.

    It will be a fustercluck in pit lane. A lot of people are mentioning that this will benefit MM more than any other rider. I think it will definitely give JL fits having to deal with back markers after pitting. I imagine that by lap 10 he will have a sizable lead cranking out consistent fast laps. But who knows- if the tire degradation is as bad as they think it will be, this could be a wild race indeed. For the sake of the championship, I’d hate to see it decided here like this, unless the front 4 are neck and neck the whole way and battle it out at the end. Still, a weird circumstance.

  • Dave

    I hope this new “rule” will require everybody to pit at the same number of laps, say lap 13, so that we won’t see a mix of front runners and backmarkers out there and potentially create problems for the front runners.

  • Domenick

    To keep things from becoming too crowded in the pit during the swap, they should make them do a lap on foot. You know, to help space them out. And yes, with their helmets on.

  • mxs

    If this is not the end of DORNA controlled circus then I don’t know what is. Somebody pls end this sharade ….. absolutely ludicrous.

  • Crashmanjay

    Dorna’s fault 100%. If there was still multiple tire companies involved it could’ve been like that disaster of a US F1 GP where the younger Schumacher nearly died and I think only 6 cars ran the race. Dorna should be paying the majority of the costs to send the spec tires out to circuit testing, not the tire manufacturers and the riders should be demanding this (like they should’ve demanded Indy be redesigned…… testing there before 2014 Dorna?)
    They should mandate everyone pit on the same lap, that would create what is really 2 races. a 13 lap on to build a gap and a 13 lap one for the win. It shouldn’t be left up to the teams to decide as this ins’t a ‘the rain’s a comin, when should we make our move?’ situation but is more of a ‘halftime’ stop.

    And I thought the seagull and the championship would be the news of the day.

  • Gutterslob

    What a farce. I pray for the safety of all riders and pit personnel involved.

  • MikeG81

    “If there was still multiple tire companies involved it could’ve been like that disaster of a US F1 GP where the younger Schumacher nearly died and I think only 6 cars ran the race.”

    How could you possibly know this?

    Maybe if there was more tire companies, one of them might have done due diligence and looked into the new surface. You know, doing the job Dorna and Bridgestone should have done.

    But I guess that would also mean someone would have an advantage, and you can’t have competition in this brave new GP world. Everyone will eat the same Dorna poop sandwich.

  • Crashmanjay

    MikeG81, I meant that one manufacturer could have had an adequate tire this weekend while one did not.

    In that Indy F1 the Michelin drivers ‘revolted’ and refused to race and Shuy Jr. was lucky to live after his crash (all because they ‘had’ to use the banking because it can’t be ‘Indy’ if you don’t hit the banking for some retarded reason).
    The Bridgestone driver’s raced providing a parade of 6 cars for the ‘race’. Eccelstone’s people could’ve called the race or done something like Dorna is trying but they just mandated the Michelin driver’s race, period.

    I wasn’t trying to be The Amazing Kreskin. I’m not a fan of control tires and I’d be happy to see 3-4 tire manufacturers in MotoGP to bring it back to being true prototype racing as it was supposed to be. I understand the costs are reduced with control tires and the safety Nazi’s want everyone ‘on equal footing’ but prototype is exactly that. What we have now is impressive but it isn’t far behind the WSBK’s having headlight decals because they are ‘production based’.

    In other words, we agree, which is why I blame Dorna. They had a new track surface, they should’ve mandated testing as they should at Indy in 2014 with it’s new surface.

    They had sprinkles of rain right as wrapped up the final warmup. I see this turning into a clusterfuck.

  • Crashmanjay