Hayden Pleased With Asymmetric Tires At Laguna Seca

Casey Stoner's calls for a softer tire from Bridgestone caused some discussion in the paddock about the merits of the control tire in the sport. Stoner's argument is that the Bridgestones being supplied are too hard, and this is occasionally causing the tires to drop out of their operating temperature in cold conditions, during morning practice and warmup, for example. The evidence - such as it is - would seem to bear this out, with crashes by Valentino Rossi, Hiroshi Aoyama, Ben Spies and others during morning sessions all being put down to cooling tires.

But according to Stoner's Marlboro Ducati teammate, the problem is not so bad. Asked during the Saturday debrief about the conditions at Laguna, and whether the habitual Monterey morning chill caused problems for the tires, Nicky Hayden admitted the chill conditions could be an issue, but that the Bridgestones were significantly improved this season. "This year, the tires are a lot better, as we've seen in qualifying," Hayden asserted. Much of the improvement was down to Bridgestone bringing an asymmetric tire to Laguna, something the spec tire supplier had not done in 2009. "The dual compound here was a must," Hayden said. "So thanks to Bridgestone, because in the morning session and even on out laps, it's a lot more fun to ride when you've got more grip."

The problem still remains in chilly conditions, especially when the air temperatures are cold. What appears to happen is that the less-used part of the tire (the left shoulder at tracks with mainly right-hand corners, and vice versa) cools down in cold air conditions, dropping to the lower end of the tire's operating conditions. The problem is in part the result of Bridgestone's success at producing tires that have such a wide operating range. The tires are so good, and can be pushed so hard in such broadly differing conditions that riders get used to the tires working just about all the time. If the tires lose just a little bit more grip than the riders had been expecting, they can find themselves in more trouble than they anticipated. Ironically, when tires are less predictable and provide less grip, rider caution ensures that they maintain a bigger safety margin, reducing the risks of sudden highsides.

It remains to be seen how Bridgestone will respond to the problem. Tires for most of the remaining rounds have already been shipped to their destination, and so a response in the next couple of races is unlikely. But Bridgestone will be examining the data from 2010 at the end of the season, and working on solutions to this problem for next year.

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Comments

>>The problem is in part the result of Bridgestone's success at
>>producing tires that have such a wide operating range.

David,

If the tires are cooling down too much in such short intervals, eg Rossi and more, do they really have that wide an operating range? It seems like there is only one tire option for the fast riders and woe to anybody that has to back off for a couple of corners.

I thought Casey's call for a softer tire was more a call for a tire with less performance overlap than the 'hard' tire so riders actually had a choice of which tire to use in the race: a softer one that would give increased performance but not last the distance at full grip and a hard one that will last the race length. If all the riders use the same tire in the race there is not really a choice, is there? One less variable to aid in having more passing and less strategy that can be called upon late in the race.

I like Nicky as a rider a lot because when was the last time you heard him complain about equipment? It's just not in his nature to air his grievances.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

If every rider was like Hayden we would have very little insight to the paddock, its rivalries, bike weak points and all the stuff that makes motogp fun to follow, excluding the racing of course.
Everyone it seems likes to dis Stoner for whining, however if he really believes that problems are coming from such and such, or so and so, then if he is candid enough to share that, then I shall respect his opinion on the matter. He is after all one of the fastest riders, past WC, has significant abilities in developing bikes and tyres.
Hayden on the other hand feels the need to throw wet blankets on any topic that is contentious, thereby making his employers and sponsors happy, but thwarting the efforts of fans to see into the situation. And of course we know that *sometimes* his position is correct and his opinion does add to our insight but it happens (wet blanket) far too often to take him seriously at every turn.

My understanding of 'wide-range' is in relation primarily to track temperatures.

You cannot blame Rossi's crash on anyone except him. Cruising, off line, banked over too much and too big a handful. Loss of concentration more than loss of grip. As I believe he himself has acknowledged.

Track temp, ambient temp, getting up to speed and into the tyres operating range. These are components racers from time immemorial have had to deal with. Electronics might help deal with it but 'grip' and its elusive mistress 'feel' remains firmly the preserve of the buttocks!

Of course if Hayden was performing better on track then he would have more 'bargaining power' with which to air grievances. I think as much as anything he is very aware on the tenuous status of his employment, marketability notwithstanding. 'Don't rock the boat' is a fair approach on this basis.

Week in and week out it's pretty much the same story with Casey. The front was letting go, the tyres this and that. Sorry guys but your missing the point. The point is, it's Casey and ALWAYS Casey complaining about tyres. Not so much that Nicky or anyone else is throwing a "wet blanket" on the real story. If anyone can complain about tyres, wouldnt it be Vale and Hiro? The guys that know exactly what happened to put them down for multiple races. I'm not saying Casey is a whiner, I'm just saying he mentions that everyone in the paddock is saying this and that about tyres and no one (with championship status) is really backing him up. Nicky goes about his business in a extremely professional manner and its really not fair to him to write he's a "wet blanket" or boring to the paddock. Last time I noticed he has just as many world championships as Casey. As for his performance, I believe that he is the only rider to be able to "tame the beast" and ride the Duc within very competitive times within 1 1/2 years. Just because he's not ready to gather the pitchforks and torches in search for Bridgestones doesn't mean squat. He's a racer not a politician.

Both Rossi and Lorenzo have made similar comments about the Bridgestones, that they cool quickly and need to be warmed up carefully. It's just that their comments usually get forgotten quickly. And their comments, though just as damning often, are couched in more diplomatic language. 

Yes, I agree to SIMILAR but not "Casey Style". He's a bit over the top....for me. That's just my opinion. It also leads me to believe that's why their comments are "quickly forgotten". They speak their mind and let it go. The reason why? Because every other rider is having to deal with the exact same issues but they seem to deal with a touch more professionalism...IMHO. Thanks David

Stoner is a racer and *not* a politician, which leaves him more candid, often to his own detriment. Hayden is very astute in his press dealings, Stoner is not.
I like Hayden but I prefer to listen to Casey as more of the story is told raw and relatively unfiltered. I am sure that Stoner has a filter of some description on his words, which is a scary thought!
I agree with the other posting here that veiled complaints are made all the time by others, but when I'm listening to them I really wish they'd say it straight up like Stoner- fireworks are much more fun to watch than waving manufacturer banners through gritted teeth.

I don't know about that; if anything I think he takes more responsibility as a rider. He attributes more to set up and his actual riding than he does the bike and equipment. Hayden is pne of the biggest critics of all the electronics. If he had it his way we'd be back to "the good 'ol days". But at the same time I'm not gonna call Casey a whiner either. Casey's fast and obviously one of the top riders so if he says there's issues I think you can take that to heart. And so what if Hayden is tip toeing around things like that? He has contractual obligations HE HAS to be careful. You say if every rider were like Hayden? Well if every rider was like Hayden I bet there would be a lot more money coming into the sport because he does participate in advertising and the works. Every sponsor and manufacturer should be so lucky to have a guy like Hayden promoting their stuff. I'm not even a huge Hayden fan but you gotta respect the guy. Hopefully Stoner can put something together for Brno.
Not starting an argument, just voicing an opinion