Bridgestone is to add an extra compound of front tire for MotoGP riders to choose from. After complaints from the teams over problems at some circuits, Bridgestone has responded by expanding the number of front tires allowed for each rider from 9 to 10, and adding an extra compound of front tire to help deal with differing conditions.
The change to the allocation had long been a wish of the MotoGP riders. Though Bridgestone's two selected compounds performed well under most conditions, a sudden drop in temperatures sometimes left riders and teams struggling. The problem was most pronounced in the morning sessions at circuits like Valencia and Aragon, where temperatures can be very cold. There were several front end crashes in those morning sessions, as tires struggled to get up to temperature. Adding a softer tire should make the morning practice sessions safer, and allow teams to work on setup without compromising safety.
The added tire also makes Bridgestone's job a little easier. The tire firm already produces rubber which works under an exceptionally wide range of temperatures and conditions, and expanding that to handle the more exceptional conditions was an expensive business. Adding a special softer tire for cold mornings means they can optimize their tire selection for expected conditions in the afternoon, giving teams better tires for the race.
Riders will initially be provided with 7 tires: 3 of the medium and 3 of the hard compound, and 1 of the softer compound. Adopting the terminology of Formula One, the medium and hard compounds will be viewed as the 'Prime' compounds, while the softer compound is regarded as the 'Option' tire. After practice on Thursday, riders will be allowed to select a further 3 tires, which can be 3 of any combination of the Prime tires, or 1 or 2 extra Option tires, plus the remainder in Prime tires.
By conceding to demands from Dorna and the Safety Commission, Bridgestone has (at least in part) demonstrated their willingness to solve some of the issues which remain with the single tire. Whether this should be regarded as a display that Bridgestone is still determined to retain the spec tire contract when it comes up for renewal at the end of this year remains to be seen.
The press release from Bridgestone explaining the change appears below:
Bridgestone expands front tyre allocation for MotoGP™ riders
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Bridgestone, the Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP™ has made a revision to the front slick tyre allocation system to give riders more choice and a greater number of tyres at each race weekend.
The change in the allocation means each rider will now be able to choose their front tyre allocation from three different compound options, whereas before only two compound options were available. Additionally, the total number of front slicks each rider can use per race weekend increases from nine to ten tyres. The decision to change the front slick tyre allocation was made following last weekend’s Argentina Grand Prix, where the provision of three front slick options for the inaugural race at Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo was welcomed by the riders and teams.
The change in front tyre allocation was ratified by the FIM and Dorna, and will take effect from this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“This change to the front slick tyre allocation will give riders greater choice at each race weekend, and will ensure that we have a tyre allocation that can manage any weather or track conditions encountered. MotoGP machines are becoming ever more demanding on tyres, with improved lap times and a greater variety in the performance characteristics between bikes, so an increased front tyre allocation will benefit everybody. Following the positive experience with the expanded front slick allocation at the Argentina Grand Prix, Bridgestone proposed to offer three front slick compound options to riders for the entire MotoGP season, and the FIM and Dorna have agreed to implement this change.”
Below is a summary of the new front tyre allocation system.
10 front slicks per rider (up from nine) from three compound options (up from two compounds)
Riders can select a maximum of six slicks in either of the two prime specification compounds, and a maximum of three of the option specification compound.
Each rider will receive an initial allocation of seven front tyres and can choose the rest of their allocation following FP2.
After FP2, each rider can choose three extra tyres to complete their allocation. The rider can choose a maximum of three front tyres in either of the prime allocation compounds. Alternatively, each rider can select a maximum of two front tyres from the option compound, plus one of the prime compounds to make up their full allocation of ten front tyres.
This table illustrates the front slicks available to every rider each weekend, up to a total of ten tyres. The yellow boxes indicate the riders’ initial tyre allocation.
|Prime (e.g. Medium)||◎||◎||◎||〇||〇||〇|
|Prime (e.g. Soft)||◎||◎||◎||〇||〇||〇|
|Option (e.g. Hard)||◎||〇||〇|
The previous front tyre allocation system is shown below.