Sepang MotoGP: Tyre rule decision delayed until next week

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Controversy and confusion surrounding tyre rules for the 2008 MotoGP world championship will drag on into next week after it was revealed there would be no final decision taken in Malaysia this weekend.

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta communicated to teams in Sepang this morning that he was unable as yet to finalise details of the tyre rules for next season.

A decision was expected tomorrow (Saturday) at a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, but a final decision won’t be taken until Friday (October 26.)

Ezpeleta is expected to hand over his final proposal on Tuesday, October 24, which will then spark a flood of high-level telephone and e-mail discussions before an agreement is reached.

A meeting of the International Race Teams Association was cancelled today with no tyre proposal to gauge opinion on from its members, while a Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association meeting this afternoon still took place.

IRTA boss Mike Trimby told MCN: “The IRTA meeting was cancelled because the tyre proposal is still evolving and it will not be discussed at the Grand Prix Commission meeting tomorrow. A decision will be postponed until next week.

"The proposal is still evolving with the final touches being put on it and it won’t be ready for tomorrow.

"Until we see the final proposal from Dorna I can’t really make any other comment because it is their proposal.

The final decision will be out before Valencia for sure. It will either be no change, one-tyre or some modifications to the current regulation.”

Asked if there had been any indication from Dorna as to why a proposal had not been forthcoming, Trimby said: “No”.

The postponement of the decision has continued the tyre saga, which started at last month’s Japanese GP in the Twin Ring Motegi.

Ezpeleta proposed a one-make tyre rule then after Bridgestone refused Honda and Yamaha’s factory teams.

When the Spaniard sparked controversy with the one-make plan, he was adamant that October 20 would be the final deadline for a decision.

The issue seemed to have been resolved at last weekend’s Phillip Island GP in Australia, with Honda and Yamaha agreeing to remain with Michelin tyres in 2008.

The issue has become further clouded by Valentino Rossi’s unwillingness to budge on his demand to get his Fiat Yamaha on Bridgestone rubber next season.

Ezpeleta met with Bridgestone’s Director of Motorsport Hiroshi Yasukawa in the Sepang paddock this morning, but there have been no official details on whether an agreement has been reached to secure a deal for Rossi.

Ezpeleta though was seen leaving Rossi’s factory Yamaha garage twice today, making it obvious he is keeping the Italian’s team continually updated with the latest information.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt