Safety concerns call for mandatory bike swap in MotoGP race

Riders frantically practiced bike swapping during this morning's warm up session

Riders frantically practiced bike swapping during this morning’s warm up session

For the first time in MotoGP history riders will be required to make a mandatory pit stop and change bikes during today’s Tissot Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Excessive tyre degradation this weekend has been put down to the Phillip Island circuit’s recent resurfacing and Bridgestone engineers are fearful of tyre failure.

Engineers could only guarantee the rear slick tyres would be safe for 14 laps which has forced race organisers to cut the race distance by one lap (to 26 laps) and call for the mandatory bike change – mid race.

Warm-up this morning posted unique scenes with all riders practicing their pit lane bike changes in preparation for the late race modification.

Riders however are fearful with Pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo telling the Australian Associated Press the mandatory pitstop is a recipe for disaster considering the high speeds down the straight and riders re-entering from pit exit at a 60km/h speed limit.

“We are riding very quick, very fast into the first corner. Maybe the riders who are exiting the pits with the riders who are in their normal lap, we can have a collision or something,” he said in the post-qualifying press conference.

“To make a flag to flag race, I think, is a little bit dangerous when you go out with the second bike because the tyres are completely new and you can crash very easily.

“My opinion is (to have) two races – but I’m not the one to decide.

“I will race in whatever conditions there will be and that’s it.”

The Tissot Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix kicks off live on the 10 network this afternoon from 3.30pm local time.

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