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Oz MotoGP tyre fears shorten race

2013-10-20 06:55

TYRE PANIC: Oz MotoGP organisers are hoping the weather over Phillip Island stays like this for the Sunday race, which has been shortened because of tyre-life fears. Image: AFP

PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia - The Australian MotoGP has been shortened again just hours before the start of Sunday's race due to safety concerns over rapid tyre degradation on the Phillip Island circuit.

Riders have also been ordered to change to bikes with fresh tyres mid-race at the newly re-surfaced track – a first for MotoGP.

Tyre provider Bridgestone said on Sunday it was unable to guarantee the safety of their rear slick tyres beyond 10 laps and it was decided to shorten the race to 19 laps from 27, Race Direction said. Riders were told to enter the pits and change to their second bike with fresh tyres at least once during the race.

RAIN WILL MEAN RED FLAGS

"In normal circumstances this means that the rider must change machines only at the end of lap nine or lap 10," the statement said.

Rain appeared unlikely as Phillip Island basked in a warm spring day but officials said the race would be red-flagged if it became wet.

The statement added: "The restarted race will be for the number of laps required to complete 19 laps, but with a maximum of 10 laps and a minimum of five laps," the statement added.

The late changes will add further intrigue to the championship battle between pole-starter Jorge Lorenzo and championship leader Marc Marquez, who is second on the grid. Honda-riding rookie Marquez can seal the MotoGP championship two races early with victory at Phillip Island if Yamaha's title-holder Lorenzo finishes no higher than third.

KTM-riding Spaniard Alex Rins won the Moto3 category ahead of second and third-placed compatriots Maverick Vinales and Luis Salom.

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