Bridgestone is to bring its 2013-spec tires for the MotoGP race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Production delays meant that the Japanese tire manufacturer was unable to guarantee a full allocation of the 2014 spec medium rear tires with the heat-resistant treatment being supplied to all of the MotoGP riders. Research and inspection of data from 2013 showed that there would be no problem with the tires without the heat-resistant treatment, and so it was decided to supply everyone with the 2013-spec medium rear tires.
The alternative to this would be having two different specifications of the medium compound available to the riders in Austin. A Bridgestone spokesperson told MotoMatters.com, 'Bridgestone felt this was a better option than having riders end up with non-heat resistant and heat-resistant tyres in the same compound option at a race weekend.' The 2013 tires will only be used at Austin, however, resulting from a production issue. 'This is a one-off situation, the 2014 specification slicks will be offered at all other venues,' the spokesperson said.
The announcement will be welcome news to the Movistar Yamaha and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teams. All four riders have struggled with the reduced edge grip produced by the heat-resistant layer in the 2014-spec tires, Jorge Lorenzo being perhaps the loudest critic of the change. It is no magic bullet, however: the Austin circuit proved to strongly favor the Honda riders in 2013, and though the addition of the seamless gearbox should level the playing field a little in Texas, the layout will likely still benefit Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, rather than Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
Real progress may come at Le Mans, when Bridgestone will be bringing a modified medium rear for the MotoGP riders. That tire still uses the heat-resistant treatment to prevent problems with the tire under high temperatures and difficult conditions, but a modified process restores some of the edge grip. The same process was applied to the hard rear tires at the end of last year, and the change was given a positive reception, turning the hard rear tire into a viable race option at some tracks.