Bridgestone Add Two New Tires, And Two New Markings, To 2015 Allocation

Bridgestone have added two new tires to their 2015 allocation, in response to developments in 2014. A new extra-hard rear will be made available at a few of the more abrasive circuits on the calendar, while the asymmetric front, debuted at Phillip Island last year, will also be available at more tracks.

Two new tires means two new color codings, to distinguish them from the existing allocation of tires. The extra hard rear will carry a yellow stripe around the side, while the asymmetric front will be indentifiable by a light blue band on the sidewall. The existing color codings for the remainder of the tires remain unchanged, as shown in the tire chart and table below.

The extra hard tire is to be introduced in Argentina for the first time, where the circuit proved to be tough on tires. Both Argentina and Indianapolis are extremely abrasive, and placed heavy demands on the hard compound rear tire. Whether all the riders will use the extra hard at the circuits remains to be seen. On the three occasions when riders could use the harder of the two compounds, only Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa selected the harder tire, the rest of the field having chosen the softer option. As Ducati, Suzuki and Aprilia all have the so-called Factory 2 concessions (softer rear tires, more fuel, more engines, free testing and development), they will not have the tire available to them at all.

The asymmetric front tire will see more use. Trialed at Phillip Island last year, reception of the tire was mixed, though this was more due to the temperature dropping rapidly halfway through the race. Under more consistent temperatures, the asymmetric front should help at circults like Phillip Island which heavily favor one side of the tire. The biggest difference could be seen at the Sachsenring, where a lot of riders get caught out by Turn 12, the first right hander after a series of lefts. Turn 12 is very fast, off camber and over a crest, and grip is at a premium.

Bridgestone's new tire markings are below:

The press release issued by Bridgestone on the new tires is show below:

Bridgestone revises slick tyre marking system for the 2015 MotoGP™ season

Thursday, March 19 2015

Following a successful debut of a new MotoGP™ slick tyre marking system in 2014, Bridgestone has introduced new colours to its tyre line-up in 2015 to reflect new tyre developments being made available to riders this year.

The revision to the tyre marking system has been the result of more options of slick tyre being offered by Bridgestone this season, as the Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP™ continues to pursue development of race tyres that offer enhanced safety, durability and performance.

Alongside the four coloured markings used last year; green (extra-soft), white (soft), black (medium) and red (hard), two new slick tyre colours are added to this year’s classification scheme. A new extra-hard compound rear slick will make its debut at the Argentina round of the championship due to the severe nature of the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, and this new development will be distinguished by a yellow stripe. Bridgestone has continued development of its asymmetric front slick that was introduced in the closing stages of the 2014 season, and this year will offer this option at more circuits in various compound combinations. As only a maximum of one type of asymmetric front slick will be offered at a given round, these will be marked with a light blue stripe to help distinguish this option against the symmetric front slicks on offer.

The complete list of coloured slick tyre markings for the 2015 MotoGP season is:

  • Extra-soft compound: Green
  • Soft compound: White
  • Medium compound: Black (no stripe)
  • Hard compound: Red

Same as 2014

  • Extra-hard compound (rear only): Yellow
  • Asymmetric front slick: Light blue

Additional colours for 2015

As per last season, in 2015 two options of wet tyre will be offered at each round, and will adopt a marking system where the plain, black tyre denotes the harder option, and a white stripe will mark the softer option.

Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department

“The coloured tyre marking scheme we implemented last year was designed to make it easier for fans to see which tyre options we deliver at each race, and we’ve listened to the feedback from both MotoGP fans and media around the world to improve this system for this year. This revised tyre marking system not only reflects Bridgestone’s commitment to continue developing new tyres through the 2015 MotoGP season by offering more options to riders, but also helps increase the appeal of the sport by helping fans more clearly understand the importance of tyre strategy during the race weekend.”

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So basically, the Honda riders get a new rear tire which - most likely - nobody else will be able to use. Seems fair.

That means three out of four factory teams do now have a tire advantage: HRC & Co get to use the Extra Hard Rear, Ducati and Suzuki get to use the Extra Soft (most likely only going to be useful in QP) and Yamaha are left out in the cold, because they do not have access to the softer tire while the harder is probably not going to work for them.

I think they are not going to be happy about that.

So, let's introduce a tire that can only effectively be used by the bike that's won the championship two years running, while offering nothing new that's of any use to teams running other bikes?

In what insane world is this a good idea? How much blood and treasure has already gone into massive rearrangements of the rules for the series, all in the name of making competition closer? Now that the top half of the field is lapping within a second of each other, time to screw that all up with a new tire that only benefits Honda? Why?

This is an utter disgrace. Shame on Bridgestone.

Working from my notes, I thought that Honda used the hard tire much more than they did. I went back and checked (you can see the race tire used for each rider at every race of 2014 on page 3 of this Bridgestone PDF sheet for Valencia), and it turns out that Honda actually raced the harder option three times: Marc Marquez twice, at Qatar and Austin, and Dani Pedrosa once, at Aragon (where it later started raining anyway). My confusion came from tire use during practice, where Honda (especially the Repsols) used the harder tire slightly more often than the Yamahas, giving me the wrong impression.

So while the Hondas are marginally more likely to use the extra hard than than the hard at Argentina and Indianapolis, the difference is very small. Both Honda and Yamaha are likely to consider the extra hard tire.