Bridgestone Press Release: Shinji Aoki Assesses the Performance of the 2012-spec Bridgestones at Qatar

Bridgestone issued the following press release debrief with their Manager of Motorsport Tyre Development, Shinji Aoki, after the race at Qatar:

Qatar MotoGP debrief with Shinji Aoki

Round 1: Qatar MotoGP - Post-race debrief

Losail International Circuit, Tuesday 10 April 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)

The 2012 MotoGP season got off to a flying start last weekend with a thrilling race taking place under the lights of the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

The venue for the season opener for the past six years, Qatar is unique due to being the only night race on the calendar and its desert location. At times during the race weekend, breezy conditions resulted in a considerable amount of sand being blown onto the circuit, causing lower levels of grip and higher levels of abrasion.

With improved conditions on Sunday, Factory Yamaha Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo took advantage of his pole position to take victory in the first race of the season ahead of the Repsol Honda pairing of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner.

Q&A with Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development

Qatar was the race debut for Bridgestone’s 2012 specification tyres and the 1000cc MotoGP machines; what was your perception of the first race of the year?

“Pre-season testing was valuable in learning the performance characteristics of the 1000cc MotoGP machines to aid our ongoing development programme, but Qatar was the first time we were able to see how the new specification tyres performed in a race situation.

“Track temperatures at Qatar are always quite cool, but the enhanced warm-up performance and rider feel provided by the 2012 specification tyres ensured the riders could push from the first lap and helped them deal with the variable track conditions. Despite the greater torque generated by the 1000cc engines, tyre wear was not a problem for any of the riders during the twenty-two lap race.”

Last year the harder rear tyre was chosen by all riders for the race. Was it the same this year?

“For this year at Qatar we made available an asymmetric rear tyre with comparatively harder rubber on the right hand shoulder. The harder rear option tyre was still the popular choice for the race this year, but the extra versatility an asymmetric construction provides resulted in four riders; Bautista, Petrucci, Pasini and Ellison selecting the softer rear option for the race. In particular, Bautista’s performance with the softer rear tyre on the Honda RC213V showed it was a viable option for the race as his lap times were consistent and he was able to engage in the exciting battle for sixth place with Hayden, Bradl and Barbera.”

Overall, how did the 2012 specification tyres perform in Qatar?

“I am very satisfied with the way our tyres performed in Qatar. The quicker warm-up performance and wider operating temperature range of the 2012 specification tyres ensured riders felt confident riding in the highly variable conditions at the Losail Circuit. The asymmetric rear tyre we brought to Qatar also worked well, with the riders appreciating the greater durability the harder rubber on the right shoulder provided. Throughout the weekend the extra-hard front tyre was the preferred option as it provides more stability under braking and is more durable, however all three of the front tyre options we made available were used to good effect over the race weekend.”


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They could have easily taken the Pirelli-F1 route and specifically manufactured high degrading tyres to "spice the show" in face of all complaints of how processional racing had become. Instead they keep making top stuff which allows us to see the bikes and riders at ten tenths all the way from qualifying to the chequered flag. And that results in the nice battles and real racing we had on Sunday.

I just wonder if they miss a tyre war.

i think they have done a great job , all that flat out hard racing and no one crashed out , no one even complained of tyre wear that i know of ( not sure i remember vale say something of tyre wear ?)
only thing that confuses me is they are planning to take yet a new front tyre to jerez , if it was fine last race why play with fire , unless its just designed for the amount of different turns at jerez track with harder/softer edges, but i think they only do that for back tyres.

It's the new spec of tyre that everyone, but Honda, loved at the last test. Plus it's a softer front with 'more feel' so definitely going to benefit Ducati and especially Rossi.

I was a little worried before the season that the tire dropoff for the last couple laps would be excessive, but things looked good in Qatar as Lorenzo and Pedrosa both kept up a good pace to the end. I was tired of seeing riders crashing on their first couple laps, and that seemed to be a lot less common, so I think Bridgestone have hit the mark with this generation of tires.

... like they do for riders or even the motorcycle manufacturers, but I think Bridgestone deserve full credit for their efforts so far this year. I hope for more of the same!