2012 MotoGP Sepang 1 Press Release: Bridgestone Testing Preview And 2012 Tire Info

With the MotoGP testing season kicking off at Valencia with the private CRT test, and the factory bikes starting on Tuesday at Sepang, Bridgestone issued a press release containing information on their 2012 tires for MotoGP. The tires have been changed from 2011, the carcass is now less rigid with the aim of helping the tires warm up faster and provide better feedback. Only the riders at Sepang will have the new tires for the moment, while the Aprilia CRT bikes will be using the "old" 2012 tires as debuted at Valencia in November. 

Below is the press release from Bridgestone, with more information on Bridgestone's 2012 strategy:

Bridgestone geared up for 2012 MotoGP tests

Following an intensive development programme over the winter break, Bridgestone is geared up for the first MotoGP group tests of 2012 as evaluation of the tyres that will be used for the upcoming season continues.

With six lap records set on Bridgestone rubber in 2011 and race times at ten of the rounds faster than in 2010, Bridgestone analysed tyre performance data and rider feedback throughout last year to develop tyres for the 2012 season that offer improved warm-up performance, enhanced rider feel and extended operating temperature range.

While the majority of teams take to Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit for their first test, some teams fielding Claiming Rule Team (CRT) bikes this year have already commenced their first shake-down of the year at Spain's Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

Riders at the first Sepang test will have access to newly developed front tyres featuring revisions to rubber compounds and construction that were specifically developed to boost warm-up performance. Evaluation of the new front tyre will take place alongside ongoing assessment of the 2012 specification tyres that were well received by riders when debuted at last November's Valencia post-season test.

The following Bridgestone tyre compounds will be available at the Sepang and Valencia tests:

Sepang – Front: Hard & Extra-Hard; Rear: Medium & Hard; Rain: Hard

Valencia – Front: Soft & Medium; Rear: Medium & Hard (asymmetric); Rain: Soft

To provide on-site support at each of the tests, Bridgestone has sent technical engineers to both Spain and Malaysia. Aside from providing technical support, the engineers will focus on the acquisition of tyre data and rider feedback, all of which will be compiled and sent back to Bridgestone's Technical Centre in Japan for further analysis.

At Sepang, Bridgestone will also meet with newly appointed Safety Advisor to Dorna, Loris Capirossi, to continue their collaboration to improve rider safety. During the test, Bridgestone and Capriossi will monitor rider reaction to the 2012 specification tyres and establish a working plan for the upcoming season.

Tohru Ubukata - General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

"Though we achieved our key objectives and numerous lap records were broken in 2011, for the upcoming season we have focused our development on further enhancing the safety aspects of our MotoGP tyres.

"To achieve this target, our technical aim for the new specification tyres was to make their grip characteristics easier to manage, improve warm-up performance and increase their operating temperature range. The positive reception our new tyres received at the Valencia post-season test showed we are well on track with development, and we have continued our progress over the winter break.

"At Sepang we will introduce new specification tyres for testing, while for the Valencia test we will continue to evaluate the tyres we debuted there last November. Apart from examining performance data during the tests, we will work closely with Safety Advisor Loris Capirossi and the riders to gauge their perception of the new tyres. This is all part of our goal to ensure optimal tyre performance for all motorcycles on the grid in 2012."

The complete MotoGP test schedule for 2012 is as follows:

  • Valencia (Private test), January 30-31
  • Sepang (IRTA official test), January 31 - February 2
  • Jerez (Private test), February 20-22
  • Sepang (IRTA official test), February 28 - March 1
  • Aragon (Private test), March 8-9
  • Jerez (IRTA official test), March 23-25

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Aprilia develops a prototype frame to fit with the "2012 Bridgestones" much stiffer and harder to warm up than the WSBK Pirellis and then Bridgestone offers "new 2012 Bridgestones" to comply with riders requests (which is great).

But what does that mean for Aprilia CRT development?
They don't compete with the means of Honda or Yamaha, like the other CRT's, what's the point to develop your bike around "next year's tires" when the said tires are changed right before the beginning of the season?

Improving the tires according to riders feedback is the way to go, but that would be nice not to screw the CRT efforts at the same time.

From the TV coverage, it looks like Bridgestone has pretty familiar relationships with all of the factories, who by competitive nature have zero sympathy for other factories (aprilia not withstanding). If the Factories can gleam any sort of advantage of another factory, or another factory having a disadvantage due to it's own issues, who would they be to complain? In reality, in this economy it's against the factory's best interests (for the survival of the sport) to have the competition not have the best edge it possibly has, but unfortunately they just seem to see the red mist. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the factories upper-staff have somehow encouraged bridgestone to not be able to help out Aprilia/CRT's.

{/tinfoil hat}

To soften the tires up and make them less demanding. Since the normal BS tire characteristics seem to be unique (super stiff and difficult to keep warm) in the world of racing tires I think any movement towards softer carcass and easier heat retention would be greatly welcomed by the CRT group. The closer BS tires' behavior gets to WSB slicks the more relevant Aprilia's chassis design knowledge becomes. I can't imagine they have a problem with that.


re: "in the world of racing tires I think any movement towards softer carcass and easier heat retention would be greatly welcomed by the CRT group."

and simultaneously work against the "Protos". a bike with more 200cc's, 20 more bhp, and 20 more lb/ft of torque is going to be looking for that stiffer tire. and for safety, B'stone is going to WANT them to have it.

Except for the fact that their electronics packages are nowhere close to what the factories use. Put the new (Sepang) soft tires on a CRT and presumably they would be destroyed well before the race was compete. I suspect that is one of the reasons why they are running the harder versions on the CRTs at Jerez. So then what happens when they all get to Qatar? CRTs on old/hard rubber and factories on new/soft rubber? Will Bridgestone be able to find a middle ground for both? Then what about CRT ability to make chassis adjustment/reconfig to any tire change at all?? This is crazy and looks a mess. Cannot wait to see how it all unfolds. Hope for the best but expecting the worst. BTW the harder tires are not difficult to keep warm, just difficult to get warm.

Funny how the riders who were winning races didn't have too many problems with the tyres. Stoner only had one DNF all year, and that was when Rossi did his missile impersonation. And he was generally going faster than anyone else too, so surely it can't be all the tyre's fault as some riders would like to suggest.

I can't help but think that tyres always cop an unfair amount of blame when riders or teams aren't performing... and now the Italian mafia is getting its way. Capirossi hasn't been able to ride on them for a few years, and now he's the one trying to drive the changes? That just makes no sense to me at all. Are we developing a sport for the very top echelon of racers, or a sport where anyone can be competitive?

I'd love to know what Stoner thinks of the changes... especially if they are taking some of the challenge out of riding these bikes.