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Off to a hot start

By PTA News Bureau

The colour tells the tyre story this MotoGP season. If the strip marking is red, it will be Bridgestone’s hard compound, if it is white, it is soft, green is for extra-soft compound and black (no stripe) for medium.

At the Qatar race, the first of the 2014 season and the only night race, it was a red rear for Marc Marques, the Honda racer and the winner. “I chose the hard rear tyre so I was a bit cautious at the start of the race, but then it was ok so then I decided to push,” Marc, last year’s MotoGP champion, said after the race.

The winner raced with a broken leg yet to mend completely. But there was no sign of it bothering him any time in the race, which itself was hard for Marc. He had to fight for every little space on the track with former ace Valentino Rossi on his Yamaha breathing down his neck and racing ahead at times. He pushed his Honda to the limit on the penultimate lap as he twice regained the lead after Valentino’s Yamaha had edged in front.

It was thrilling and tough – no better way to open the new championship season. There is more waiting as the season gets hotter. The battle between youthfulness and experience will only get closer.

Nine-time World Champion Rossi is now part of the Bridgestone family as its Motorcycle Tyre Development Advisor. Bridgestone Europe has launched “Club46,” a promotional campaign in Europe in collaboration with Rossi. The campaign is bound to set the pulses racing of Rossi and motorcycle fans, with the ultimate prize being a meet and greet with the most iconic motorcycle racer of all time.

New rules

The new MotoGP rules will narrow the gap between the Factory teams at Honda, Yamaha and Ducati and the rest Open.

From this year, teams must use the same engine control unit (ECU) hardware. Factories do have the choice to continue using their own software.

Those using the spec software, the Open category are allowed to use 24 litres of fuel per race, have a softer tyre option, unlimited testing and 12 “non-sealed” engines in a season. This means teams in the Open category are allowed to develop their engines throughout the year.

The Factory teams are restricted to 20 litres of fuel per race and are only permitted five sealed engines during the season.

The new tyre colour marking is only one among the number of changes in force this season. “The new tyre marking scheme is designed to make it easier for fans to see which tyre compound each rider is using on the front and rear of the bike,” Hiroshi Yamada, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department, said. “Before last year when the whole grid was on the same tyre compounds, our old marking system worked perfectly. Since the introduction of the CRT class, and now the grid being split between the Factory and Open-class machines, we’ve decided to change the marking system to suit.”


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