Valentino Rossi went from challenging for his best dry weather result of 2012 to finishing in a disastrous 13th after he suffered a major rear tyre failure in Assen.
Rossi was locked in a battle for fifth position with Nicky Hayden and Hector Barbera when his factory Ducati GP12 developed an early vibration from his hard compound Bridgestone rear tyre.
The problem worsened and got so unrideable that the nine-times world champion had to enter the pits to fit a new rear on lap 17.
The 33-year-old confirmed afterwards that his tyre had lost large chunks of rubber and he said: “It is a pity because with the mistakes of some guys in front we can arrive at the end with a better position and take some points for the championship. I did a very good start but unfortunately I had a problem with the rear tyre from beginning and it became a dangerous situation. We decided to use the hard tyre because the temperature was going up but like Nicky and Barbera also some other riders have a similar problem but not like me. Now Bridgestone will assess the tyre but unfortunately it can happen and we will see what they say. Here the tyre on the right was quite soft and the temperature was very hot and for sure the 1000 puts more stress on it. For safety reasons Bridgestone make a softer casing and maybe also this sometimes creates more heat. It is the first time this year it happened though. One time it can happen and unfortunately it happened to me.”
Bridgestone promised an immediate and thorough investigation into the tyre defect that also struck Texan Ben Spies and cost him a podium after he had to slow so much that Andrea Dovizioso overtook him on the final lap for third.
Shinichi Yamashita , General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department, said: “We saw the highest track temperatures of the Grand Prix weekend and the race was run at a very fast pace. The warm temperatures meant that all riders selected the harder front slick, while all but seven riders selected the harder slick option for the rear as well. Unfortunately a few riders experienced a problem with their rear tyre today and we sincerely apologise to those riders affected. We have commenced a full investigation into the matter and I will personally take the affected tyres back to Bridgestone’s Technical Centre in Japan tomorrow where they will undergo detailed analysis to determine the cause of this issue.”
For more from Rossi, see the July 4 issue of Motor Cycle News.