Burgess backs new tyre rule

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Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess has backed the 2007 tyre restrictions, despite recent calls from the Italian to modify the current format.

Riders can now only pick from 17 rear and 14 front tyres on a race weekend under new rules that have had a mixed reception in recent weeks.

Rossi recently suggested he would propose a revision to the rule claiming the range of tyres available was too restrictive, and picking tyres on a Thursday based on last year’s information and data was too difficult.

But his Fiat Yamaha crew chief Burgess has supported the new regulation, not least because it allows more critical set-up time to be focused on the bike.

“That is the reason I really like the rule because it makes you make a good bike. We have an excellent bike; the Yamaha has qualified well all year so that means the bike is working well. In the races we are being beaten by a faster engine, so these are the things to address, “Burgess told MCN.

“I like the rule. At the races we’ve always selected the tyre we wanted to select and it is the same rule for everybody. Certainly we didn’t get beaten by choosing the wrong tyre in Qatar, we won Jerez by choosing the tyre we wanted to choose and in Turkey we chose the tyre we wanted to use and there was a problem unrelated to the choice.

“In China we picked the tyre we wanted to pick and got beaten on the straights as we were in Qatar. In Le Mans we had the tyre on we wanted at the start of the race and cleared out by one second and we on our way until the rain came.

“I’m quite confident at no stage have we ever been handicapped in selection for the race by the rules. Now if you didn’t have the rule you would have a lot more choice but it is the same for everybody.

“From a working point of view I find it better, you can maximise your best tyre choice and with rain tyres there is no limitation so we can’t blame the rule for our problems in Le Mans.”

One proposal suggested by Rossi was to increase the range of tyres available but Burgess said the one-hour time limit for practice and qualifying sessions meant the time allowed to evaluate tyres was only minimal.

“I think you could have more tyres to choose from but time places a limitation on how many tyres you can use. You got to finally make a decision and make a setting a round your race tyre,” said Burgess, who is happy that the new rule prevents Michelin from flying tyres to European races overnight.

The regulation has taken that big advantage away from Michelin but Burgess said: “I would be reluctant to see a situation where tyres could be made overnight because I think when you are waiting for that tyre based on your settings of the previous day, you are reluctant to change the setting on the bike.

“So you are making the tyre do all the work whereas there should be more input from the suspension people and mechanics on the bike setting.”

Another suggestion by Rossi was to test tyres in the two Friday free practice sessions on a race weekend, and then select the rubber on Friday night.

At least riders will have tested on track and be armed with more knowledge before making their judgment on tyre selection.

And it would still prevent Michelin from flying tyres in overnight.

But Aussie Burgess added: “With the way the track changes from Friday to Saturday you are basing all the info on Friday. One thing you could do is extend the tyre limit to 20 that perhaps could give you six choices of three tyres with two qualifiers.

“You should be able to hit the nail on the head with that. Having said that we haven’t had a problem.

“We’ve been able to hit the nail on the head and so have Bridgestone, so I can’t see the tyre companies leaping into gear about pushing for any changes.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt