Bridgestone’s decision to bring the 2013-spec medium compound rear tire to the Austin round of MotoGP has been met with near universal displeasure amongst the MotoGP riders.

The Japanese tire company was forced to revert to the 2013-spec tire, without the added heat-resistant layer, after a production issue with the 2014 tires meant that they were unable to bring enough of the new spec tires to the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin.

That decision was cause for much disappointment among MotoGP riders. “I’m not happy to use the old tire,” Valentino Rossi told the press conference. “I don’t like it. I want to use the new one, and what Bridgestone did this weekend, bring the old tire after we worked a lot on the bike to make it use the new tire, this is something that sincerely I don’t understand.”

Reigning world champion Marc Marquez concurred with Rossi. “I don’t agree with it,” Marquez said. “I don’t understand, honestly. Some riders complained. Not many, but some, and now here we will have the 2013 [tire],” Marquez said.

It was unlikely to be too much of a problem for the Honda, though, he added. “We raced the hard tire in Qatar, and here it looks like it will be warm, so we will try to manage.” The hard tire had worked well at Austin last year, giving Marquez hope he would be able to use the harder rubber.

Jorge Lorenzo rejected suggestions that the switch to the 2013 tire was related to the bitter complaints the Spaniard had aimed at the new, 2014 tire at Qatar. The decision had not been made by the company he worked for, Lorenzo said. “I will race the tire we have,” Lorenzo said. “I have to work with whatever Bridgestone bring.”

Bradley Smith was the most outspoken of the riders with his criticism of the move. Using the 2013 tires would help clarify the situation for Bridgestone, Smith said, giving the tire manufacturer and the teams a better look at the old tire.

“The new 2014 tires are much better, especially in race conditions,” Smith said. “So I think this will shut up some riders from whinging.”

Smith later explained his veiled barb at Jorge Lorenzo, the only rider to have been so vocal in his rejection of the tires. While Lorenzo had put off working with the new generation tires, Smith had started adapting to the 2014 tires as soon as possible.

The reasons the 2014 tires, which lack the edge grip of the previous year’s rubber, don’t work for Lorenzo’s style were self-evident, Smith explained.

“He [Lorenzo] relies on corner speed, relies on angle, relies on the Yamaha to ride with his style. He’s perfected his style, and I can understand his frustration, because in the final six races last year, he finally figured out how to make the bike go faster than the Honda. Then you start the season and you find out your style no longer works.”

Smith was sympathetic of Lorenzo’s plight. “I rode for all of last year knowing my style didn’t work. It killed me that it didn’t, but I had to modify it.”

The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider explained where his style diverged from Lorenzo’s. “I ride differently. I don’t commit to the corner as early as he does, I don’t carry the angle that he does for half of the time, and when I touch the throttle I pick up the bike a few degrees more than him, rather than keeping it on the angle. All those small details are where he’s suffering,” Smith explained.

Testing had helped him adapt to the new medium rear, Smith said. “I’ve figured out how to work [the new tire]. I did two extra days in Malaysia on those tires, where they decided, ‘OK, we’re just going to run the old tires, because that’s what we’re going to do.’ I threw mine away, and said, OK, give me all the new ones and let me try to figure it out.”

“It meant that I rode two seconds slower than they did, but I had two days more there. I also got the three days in Qatar that they didn’t have, because when they rode in Phillip Island, they didn’t test anything really on those tires, they had other tires. So I’ve had five days more experience on those tires than they have.”

That experience had ultimately benefited Yamaha’s factory team, however. “They were looking a lot into my settings, they looked a lot into tire temperatures and everything I was gaining because I have more information,” Smith said.

“I think that’s what also helped a little bit towards Valentino’s good performance in the race. But it’s swings and roundabouts as well, I had their data to work with last year in many situations. I’m just happy that maybe for once, I’ve helped the factory team.”

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

  • L2C

    This situation is pretty much BS. That’s all there is to it. Bridgestone has way too much influence on the race outcomes to be f-ckin’ up this bad. Possibly every rider on the grid -with the NOTABLE EXCEPTION of JORGE “GRAND POOBAH OF THE UNIVERSE” LORENZO- will lose their momentum that was built up over preseason and at Qatar.

    And just for the record, I don’t buy Bridgestone’s flimsy excuse of “…a production issue with the 2014 tires…”. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop with Bridgestone announcing that “Because the 2014 tires are too difficult produce, the 2013 tires will be used by all riders for the foreseeable future.” If that happens, I will make sure to voice my fury appropriately.

  • Innis

    Why do they tire regulations in the first place. teams only get to use X soft tires and then so many hard tires and so on and so fourth. Why don’t they just get to use the best tire available? why should pit strategy be so important? I’m just getting into the sport but I don’t understand this regulation.

  • SBPilot

    Ya this is definite BS by crapstone tires. Now all the teams need to totally re-setup their bikes back to 2013 spec which may or may not be even possible if parts like chassis and swingarm are different from last year. Now it’s chasing last year’s tire with this years bike having zero practice to do so. With the ’14 tire they’ve been all testing with it, prepping to maximize it and now they suddenly decided to run the ’13?

    Can’t all the teams protest this? I don’t’ understand why the teams are not more vocal about this, I mean, extremely vocal about it. It’s total BS. I really have to applaud Smith for essentially telling Lorenzo to shut up. I can’t believe crapstone is forcing everyone to use the ’13 tire all because Lorenzo is a little b1tch.

  • article dan

    ANOTHER fiasco from Bridgestone. Nice one for Bradley saying what everyone else is thinking.

    Can’t we get rid of Bridgestone and give it to lets say pirrelli. Theres hardly ever any drama with tyres in WSBK.