Bridgestone Press Release: Shinji Aoki Talks Tricky Tire Choices At Valencia

Below is the usual post-race press release debrief from Bridgestone, discussing how their tires handled the difficult conditions at Valencia:


Valencia MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki

Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)

The final race of the 2012 MotoGP™ season at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo was won by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner in second and third place respectively. The lead-up to the race was dominated by the variable weather conditions that saw a late scramble among the teams to fit a set of tyres that best suited damp but drying tarmac.

The track temperature at the start of the race was just 14°C, but a prominent dry line resulted in eleven of the twenty-two riders on the grid starting the race on slick tyres – including four riders starting from pit-lane - with the rest of the field opting for wets. No further rain fell during the race so within five laps all the riders on wet tyres switched on to their bikes fitted with slicks.

Q&A with Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

It seemed that there were many late decisions on tyre choice on the starting grid, what recommendations did Bridgestone make to riders in regards to race tyre choice in the tricky conditions?

“The starting grid before the race was extremely busy with many teams rushing to change tyres between the different specifications of wet tyre as well as changing from wet to slick tyres. This was because riders could see that despite the track being mainly wet a prominent dry line had begun to appear and would only get more pronounced if no further rain fell.

“Our recommendations were based on the conditions at the start of the race and so for those riders which wanted to use the wet tyre, we recommended they use the alternative option, hard compound wet tyre for greater durability on the drying track. However, many riders correctly predicted that no further rain would fall and so decided to use slicks in the hope that the condition of the track later in the race would better suit them and in this case the softer front and rear slicks were the only viable option. As we saw during the race, this decision paid off for many riders, but also caught some riders out when they drifted off the dry line.”

How did the slick tyres fare on a track that was so cold and wet in many areas?

“The only specification of slick used for the race were the softer options and these performed well considering the conditions. Two of the key technical requirements we engineered for our 2012 specification slick tyres were greater warm-up performance and enhanced rider feel and both of these traits were important in the conditions that we experienced on Sunday. I think it was the ability of our tyres to get up to operating temperature so quickly that convinced so many riders to start the race on slicks.”

The post-season test at Valencia started today. Did Bridgestone supply any new tyres for the riders to test?

“Yes we have brought two new experimental rear tyres to Valencia for riders to evaluate. One tyre will be available to works riders only and features our new hard rubber compound that is slightly softer than our current hard compound. For the CRT riders we have a new soft option rear slick which is more suited to the lower power output of these machines compared to the softer option slick we supplied for the race. We expect that the CRT specification soft tyre will be used during the test if we don’t have rain tomorrow, however the cool weather at Valencia may prevent testing of the slick featuring our new hard rubber compound.”

Year: 
2013

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