Loris Capirossi On New Tire Supplier: Intermediates To Return, Allocation To Increase Slightly In 2016

The tire allocation for MotoGP is set to be expanded when the new tire supplier takes over from 2016. The numbers of tires supplied to each rider will be increased by one or two tires per rider, and each rider will have the option of three different compounds front and rear. But perhaps the most welcome change will be the return of intermediate tires to MotoGP, for use in practice conditions which are too dry for rain tires, but too damp and dangerous for slick tires to be used.

The expansion in number and compounds was a contributory factor in Bridgestone deciding to pull out of MotoGP, the series safety officer Loris Capirossi told MotoMatters.com. 'We started talking with Bridgestone in the middle of last year to understand the situation, because as everybody knows, the contract finishes at the end of 2014,' Capirossi said. 'We told them the situation is like this, we have to try to modify that part, we have to try to increase a little bit the number [of tires], we have to try to make the intermediate tire, just some points. Like Carmelo [Ezpeleta] said, we were talking and talking, but in the end Bridgestone decided to stop.' Capirossi expressed Dorna's gratitude to Bridgestone for agreeing to extend the contract for a single year through 2015. 'We talked to Bridgestone again about continuing for one more year, because it is important for us to work on [the tire situation]. Bridgestone understood our situation, and decided to stop at the end of 2015,' the Italian said.

There are three main candidates to replace Bridgestone, Capirossi said. 'We are already talking officially with Dunlop and Michelin. We are talking unofficially with Pirelli also, but we haven't received an official request yet. That [process] is still going on until the 22nd of this month. Then the process will be closed on the 22nd, and Dorna and the MSMA will decide what is the best way to go.'

Capirossi ruled out any return to open tire competition, as well as any radical shake up of the tire supply regulations. 'We don't want to change the rules,' the Italian said. 'It will still be a mono tire rule. We don't want to make 100 types of tire.' The new tire supplier would have to put considerable effort into development, however. 'When you start working with a new supplier, it's difficult, because we have to work really hard in the beginning to try to find the best solution for everybody. We have asked [the candidates] for many things, for development we asked for a lot of tests. We are just waiting for their answers, for their plans, so we can start to work.'

That work will be an intensive exercise for whoever is awarded the initial contract, especially in the run up to 2016. 'We will have to prepare 100 different types of tire to start the development, to find the best solution, the best tire working for all of the bikes, like Bridgestone did in the last couple of years. This is the target we wanted to follow,' Capirossi told MotoMatters.com.

Though Dunlop, Michelin and Pirelli have all expressed an interest in becoming official tire supplier, Michelin is widely tipped as the favorite to win the contract. The French company has stepped up its test program recently, with riders testing Michelin's 16.5" slicks in Italy and France in recent weeks.

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So Dorna said "We want a little more" and Bridgestone said "We can't do it" so Dorna said "OK, we'll find someone else who can. We mean someone who can get out another compound option and an intermediate on top of getting up to speed with current GP bikes within a year and adapting the tires to the new ECU software that comes out the exact same year that none of the prototype bikes even have any data with yet and we're probably going to remove a hell of a lot of the options the teams have to cope with tire wear at the same time but we're not sure yet all while keeping lap times at about the same pace and keep our riders safe even when Marc Marquez stands the entire bike up on the front tire on the brakes and starts to turn even before the back tire is on the pavement again all while the riders say the Bridgestone was a much better tire and it's a shame they're no longer in the championship."

Then Bridgestone says "Good luck" and Dorna says "Thanks".

New ECU software won't require new tires and Dorna has never said anything about maintaining lap times. Especially in the context of the rumors that they might be phasing out TC in the coming years, as well as the effect the dumbed down software will have.

I don't think Dorna was unreasonable for asking Bridgestone for things, nor do I think BS was out of line for pulling out. Why do people have to find a scapegoat/enemy in everything

TC may be lessened but the idea that TC will be phased out is wishful thinking. How can they call it a prototype class when road bikes have TC, regional race classes have TC yet somehow MotoGP has none?

MotoGP can easily prohibit TC as a performance enhancing device, same as F1 did. What exists on production bikes (or production cars) does not matter. There are plenty of examples of existing technology being banned, including dual clutch transmissions, turbochargers, six cylinder motors, and others. Being a prototype class does not mean there are no limits.

MotoGP needs TC as a safety device, to prevent highside moon launches. But it is possible to have that without it being a strategy for greater speed. I hope Dorna takes that route, but right now I don't think anyone knows.

I never EVER understood why the intermediate option was removed. This made NO sense to me at the time, and makes just about as much now. All it, in my opinion was give MotoGP a circus show feel when the weather was well......for want of a better word, intermediate.

I've never ridden on these fabled Bridgestone tyres, am I never will either. But it's been the one thing rider after rider has said they've found it most difficult to get a handle on. And let's face it the boys that ride these tyres are the VERY best in the world. If they find them hard to get to grips with, what on earth does that give Bridgestone data for in the real world?

I'm not blaming either Bridgestone OR Dorna (for once) but I do think that there needs to be a shake up in the tyres used in MotoGP. It's blatantly obvious that some bikes can use them, and some can't, and haven't been able to for some time.

Tell you what though, I bet Gigi Dall'Igna is watching this develop very closely..

In the article on GPone (http://www.gpone.com/2014050213428/Pirelli-siamo-diversi-da-Bridgestone....) this is one of the reasons advanced by Pirelli for not being really interested in taking over the tyre supply for MotoGP.
The other reason being that they do not agree with the current philosophy of "we make these tyres, let the manufacturers deal with them, either by redesigning the bikes or by forcing riders to change riding style." They mention that in WSBK they work closely with each manufacturer so that they have a chance to develop tyres that do not put some manufacturers at a clear disadvantage ...

Kenny Roberts in his book said, "a slick has as much traction as an intermediate unless there are puddles." If there are puddles, aren't you going with rains?

Loris mentions that there could also be an increased number of compounds, but there's no word about an alternative carcass.
I think the new tyre supplier should also offer a stiffer as well as a more flexible carcass, thus minimizing the risk of having a manufacturer not able to extract performance from any of the available tyres.
I still think that developing a tyre for a particular bike design is way cheaper than redesigning a motorcycle around a given tyre ...

What was the HP of the last MotoGP bikes that didn't have TC?
What is the HP of the bikes now?

As far as I know, there's no big difference.

The last bikes without TC were the first generation 4-strokes, I reckon. Rossis 5-cylinder RC211 V had over 175KW / 240 HP without TC.

Marquez' RC 213V has about the same. See here:

I don't know what the weight limit was from 2002 to 2006, though. I believe MotoGP bikes today need to be heavier, right. 160 Kilos minimum, ever since Ducati asked for it.

The 800-era was the time, when TC really came into play. They didn't really have that much less power, just a bit less torque. I guess they could compensate that with more revs, since that is not limited in MotoGP. Not yet.
So I guess, they 800s were quite peaky engines anyway, fuel supply was more and more limited, so a smooth throttle response was harder and harder to maintain. I think that was the era, when electronics got really, really important.

Just my assumptions here. I don't know exactly, when TC was started to being used.

While teams are remarkably secretive, it's reasonably clear that TC systems were in use well before the 800cc era, and probably during the last part of the 500cc two-stroke era.

Well before the switch to four-stroke MotoGP, Mat Mladin's Yoshimura Suzuki AMA Superbike was using TC systems straight from Japan. If that was happening in National-level Superbikes, imagine what was going on at the MotoGP level.

I'm curious: Intermediates are available in WSBK. When is the last time any factory team gridded up for a race on them?

"But perhaps the most welcome change will be the return of intermediate tires to MotoGP, for use in practice conditions which are too dry for rain tires, but too damp and dangerous for slick tires to be used."

This makes it sound like intermediates are for practice only - maybe the same in WSBK? Which makes me wonder why even bother?

... is very very difficult without injection (and even then it's dificult) and Honda tried injection but abandonned it, so my guess is they didn't have TC.
Why is it dificult ? because you can't cut-out the fuel because of it's also needed for lubricating the engine. And if you do cut-out the fuel, the engine won't pick-up where it was left like with a foulstroke because the mixture in the crankcasewill have become much leaner. And if you cut out the ignition with carburators, your mixture will become way too rich, and you risk bad pick-up because the expansionpipe will cool down because of the unburnt fuel cooling it.

I believe the very first year of 990 was TC free - although the bikes had variable engine mapping available to the rider that would provide some power management (mixed or wet conditions etc.).

From the second year onwards I'm pretty sure TC was present in ever increasing complexity.

I believe the need for TC today is driven heavily by fuel limitations. Firstly, smoothly applied traction is necessary to save fuel, and secondly, with less fuel available it is more difficult to make the throttle response rider friendly.

I went digital years ago, so whilst I don't support a full return to the days of analogue, I would like to see technology applied in such a way that it does not determine the race results. I say give them more fuel, allow TC but in a more limited sense (e.g. no corner to corner settings) and soften the tyre carcass - it would probably lower lap times, but maybe level the playing field.

It's always fun to do a bit of research. Found what I was looking for. In the June 1998 issue of Roadracing World, there is a story about an AMA Pro Road Racer named John Jacobi who was doing track testing on an electronic traction control system for a company named Alpha Technik. The system was crude to begin with; it detected wheelspin in one corner at 130 mph and simply shut the power off completely, launching Jacobi through the air. Obviously, TC systems got better, and rapidly. The system also included data acquisition and automatic shifting. The test mule was a GSX-R750.

I would find it hard to believe that if a relatively small company was developing its own system in 1998, that it would take another five years for electronic TC to make it to a factory MotoGP bike. I will assume, based on decades of historical precedent, that the factories are developing new technologies at least concurrently with - and usually ahead of - the aftermarket.

I am looking fwd to a big shake up in the status quo at the same time that new manufacturers are coming in. The Honda-Yamaha 4 bike cup leaves something to be desired. I preferred them looser, less consistent, and fading predictably at the end of races. This is going to be super interesting! That said, the Bstone front is a feat of beautiful engineering to behold. How is that possible what that thing can do!? 62 degrees of lean angle and spinning up the rear w drive into pumping and that wee little matchbook stretched into a banana holds forces at bay with bizarre adhesion.

Speaking of tires......david you said that modified rear slicks with improved edge grip would be rolled out at le mans. Now is that happening or the idea is postponed due the tire chaos going around ??

What will happen in 2016 is a far distant future but this introduction of new rear slicks that's more important for now.