As usual after each race, Bridgestone issued a press release containing a debrief with one of their senior engineers, reviewing how their tires performed at the previous weekend. Given the events during the race at Phillip Island, this press release will be eagerly awaited in some quarters. In it, Shinji Aoki discusses the difficult weather conditions during the race, especially with the cooling temperatures, the performance of their rear tires at the track, and how the cold affected the asymmetric front tire Bridgestone brought to the circuit. There is no discussion of Jorge Lorenzo's front tire, though a Bridgestone spokesman did issue a response to our colleages over at the Bikesportnews.com website.
Australian MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Tuesday, October 21 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Extra-soft & Soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric). Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi won a dramatic Australian Grand Prix last Sunday, leading a Yamaha sweep of the podium in a race where rapidly cooling temperatures created challenging conditions for the riders.
After a warm start to the day, a cool change in the afternoon saw cool winds lower ambient and track temperatures for the race, with the peak track temperature recording of 34°C recorded at the start of the twenty-seven lap race. This year’s Australian Grand Prix saw Bridgestone bring a whole new range of asymmetric rear slick tyres to meet the severe demands of the recently repaved Phillip Island circuit, as well as a newly-developed asymmetric front slick – the first time Bridgestone has offered this technology to MotoGP™ riders.
2014 Phillip Island Sunday Round Up: Why The MotoGP Race Was Not A Tire Fiasco, And Rossi Reaps Rewards
Once again, a MotoGP race at Phillip Island is decided by tires. The tires Bridgestone brought to the Australian circuit were not up to the task, with riders crashing out all throughout the race. The front tires Bridgestone brought to the track were unable to cope with the conditions. The result was determined by tires, not by talent.
That, at least, is the narrative being heard around the internet after the bizarre yet fascinating MotoGP race at Phillip Island. It is an attractive narrative – a nice, simple explanation for what happened in Australia – but it is fundamentally flawed. The tire situation was complicated, certainly. Jorge Lorenzo's front tire showed very severe degradation, more than would normally be explained by the expect wear. Several riders crashed out on the asymmetric front tire Bridgestone brought. But to lay the blame entirely on Bridgestone is quite wrong.
The problems at Phillip Island are inherent to the track, and were exacerbated by changes made to suit European TV schedules. Phillip Island, like Assen, is a track which places peculiar demands on tires. It features a lot of very fast left-hand corners, with only a few right handers, two of which are the slowest corners on the track. It is located next to the Bass Strait, a freezing stretch of water connected to the globe-spanning Southern Ocean, which means the weather is highly changeable. Temperatures dropped during the race by as much as 9°C, probably a result of Dorna insisting on running the race at 4pm local time (the late afternoon) to hit a 7am TV slot in their main markets of Spain and Italy. That time will draw a bigger audience than the 5am slot a 2pm race start would fill. But to locals, racing at 4pm at this time of the year is madness.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after an incident-packed Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island:
Full Recap and Results Below.
Marc Marquez has topped the final MotoGP pre-race hit out at Phillip Island with a time of 1:29.871, he topped the time sheets for the morning Warm Up and edged out his team mate Dani Pedrosa by two hundredths of a second. Jorge Lorenzo and Iannone also ended the session less than a tenth of a second behind Marquez while Valentino Rossi was a further tenth behind, the top eleven riders down to Stefan Bradl were split by less than half of a second.
Some riders practiced flag-to-flag bike swaps throughout as a dark gray cloud cover blanketed the circuit, it meant for humid suffocating conditions however this was more carried out as a precaution, no rain is forecast for later this afternoon.
2014 Phillip Island Saturday Round Up: The Rufea Team's Front Row Sweep, Winning Attitude, And The Secret Of Riding The Ducati
The three men on pole for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix have a lot in common. One is already champion in MotoGP, another could become champion on Sunday, the other looks to have taken control of the Moto3 title chase in the past few races. The MotoGP and Moto3 pole sitters are brothers, and the man on pole for Moto2 is a good friend of the brothers. Most importantly, perhaps, all three train together.
The "Rufea Team", as they are known to the Spanish media and among themselves, spend long days pushing each other hard at the dirt track oval in Rufea, a small parish outside of Lleida in Spain. Moto2 championship leader Tito Rabat doesn't spend as much time there as the Marquez brothers Marc and Alex, as he is mainly based in Almeria, where he spends his days whittling away the circuit record. But when he does go, the three go all out for glory, even though they are only racing among themselves, and in front of a couple of friends, and maybe the Marquez brothers' father Julià.
Is it coincidence that the trio should find themselves leading their respective championships? Marc Marquez has already proved his talent, by wrapping up four world championships, including three in a row. Tito Rabat has grown enormously as a rider after switching to the Marc VDS Racing team, and stepping out of the shadow of Pol Espargaro at Pons. Alex Marquez already proved himself in the Spanish championship, got up to speed in Moto3 last year, and is proving to be the steadiest of the Moto3 riders.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Phillip Island:
Full Recap and Results below.
Andrea Iannone has headed the time sheets for the final MotoGP free practice session at Phillip Island, the Italian Ducati rider posted the quickest time with his final lap of the session to nudge Marc Marquez to second place by a mere six hundreths of a second. Valentino Rossi also put in a good late run to jump up to third position, he edged out fellow Yamaha riders Aleix Espargaro and weekend long pace-setter Jorge Lorenzo.
The British duo of Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith claimed sixth and seventh places respectively ahead of Pol Espargaro and Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa was still struggling for speed and will have to go through the Q1 session for the first time in his career. LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl completed the top ten some eight tenths behind Iannone.
Jorge Lorenzo has topped the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Phillip Island. The Movistar Yamaha was fast for much of the session, but seized control at the end, snatching the lead by nearly three tenths of a second. Newly-crowned champion Marc Marquez took second, just edging out Andrea Iannone, who had been in 2nd until displaced by the Repsol Honda rider. Iannone missed out on an opportunity to improve his time after he crashed at the fast Doohan Corner immediately after beating his best time.
Valentino Rossi is 4th fastest, the Yamaha veteran showing a strong race pace in his 250th career premier class event, while the Monster Tech 3 Yamahas of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith made a late charge to get into the top 10. Aleix Espargaro put the Forward Yamaha into 7th, just bumping Cal Crutchlow into 8th. The Ducati rider had been running in 6th for a while, but lost places when the race for Q2 broke out at the end of the session. Stefan Bradl just sneaked into 9th to go through to Q2, while Dani Pedrosa managed the 10th fastest time in FP3, but was not fast enough to beat the time set by Andrea Dovizioso in FP2, meaning that Dovizioso goes through to Q2, while Pedrosa will have to work his way through Q1 to battle for pole position.
2014 Phillip Island MotoGP Friday Round Up - Special Tires For A Special Circuit, And The Rules For 2016
Phillip Island is a very special race track. That has an upside – it rewards courage and talent, and has provided some spectacular racing – but it is also special in the more pejoratively euphemistic sense of the word. It challenges not just the riders, but motorcycle designers and racing teams as well. Above all, it challenges tire manufacturers: with wildly varying temperatures, strong winds blowing in cool and damp air off the ocean, an abrasive surface, high-speed corners, more left handers than right handers, and the most of the lefts faster than the rights. It can rain, be bitterly cold, be bathed in glorious sunshine, or in sweltering heat. Try building a tire to cope with all that.
After last year's fiasco, both Dunlop and Bridgestone tried to do just that. They came to the track in March to test tires and gather data to build tires for this weekend. The only minor problem is that the test came at the end of Australia's long summer, and temperatures were much more congenial than now, as the country emerges from its Antipodean winter. The tire selections brought by Dunlop and Bridgestone are much better than last year, but they are not quite perfect. At any other track, that wouldn't be a problem. At Phillip Island, even being not quite perfect can land you in trouble.
That tires are an issue was evident from the number of riders who crashed, both in MotoGP and in Moto2. Most crashed in right handers, a lot going down at MG, which would be one of the most difficult corners of the year wherever it was located, but a fair few followed suit at Hayshed, the right hander that follows on from Siberia (the most aptly named corner on the calendar) and precedes Lukey Heights. There were crashes at the Honda hairpin as well, the other right hander, where hard braking is at a premium.