Photography by Gold & Goose
And now for something completely different: With Bridgestone unable to guarantee that even its hardest compound tires will go beyond 14 laps of the newly resurfaced Phillip Island circuit, Sunday’s Australian MotoGP will feature a mandatory pit stop. Yes, a mandatory pit stop.
The race distance will be 26 laps, but every rider will be required to pit and change to his second motorcycle with fresh tires at least once during the race and no rider will be permitted to go more than 14 laps on any slick rear tire. This means that bike/tire change before lap 12 will require a second bike/tire change to finish the race.
Additionally, riders on factory bikes (and satellite bikes) will be required to use the “hard” option tire of which an extra quantity will be allocated by Bridgestone. CRT riders will be required to use the CRT “hard” option tire.
Bridgestone isn’t the only tire manufacturer running into troubles at Phillip Island as Dunlop, the spec-tire provider for Moto2 and Moto3, is also coming under fire for not being able to produce a tire up to snuff for the demanding high-speed circuit. Thus the Moto2 Grand Prix will only be 13 laps instead of the scheduled 25 laps, with full championship points awarded.
And that Moto2 race will sadly go on without championship leader Scott Redding, the Brit who has led the championship for the majority of the season being forced out of the race after suffering a broken wrist in a Saturday afternoon qualifying crash.
Redding, who leads the Moto2 World Championship by nine points from Pol Espargaro, crashed heavily at the high-speed turn 12 in the final few minutes of qualifying. After an initial assessment in the circuit medical center, the 20-year-old was diagnosed with a fractured left wrist.
Redding was transported to Epworth Hospital in Richmond where he was scheduled to undergo surgery. A decision on the likely date of Redding's return to racing will be made together with the medical staff at the hospital after the operation.
"Obviously I am absolutely gutted for Scott,” said team principal Michael Bartholemy. “He was pushing hard and the rear just got away from him. Normally he'd have dusted himself off and put it down to experience, even at the ultra-fast turn 12, but he was unfortunate in that he got caught up with the bike and ended up with a fractured wrist. The most important thing now is that he recovers properly before making his return to racing. Yes, there's a championship to be fought over, but our priority now is Scott's health. If that means we have to forfeit the championship then so be it. But we're still in the race tomorrow with Mika [Kallia], who qualified well today.”