Today, Bridgestone issued their customary post-race debrief after the MotoGP race at Aragon. After a relatively uneventful weekend - at least in terms of tires - Masao Azuma talks about the influence of changing conditions on tire choice at Aragon:
Aragon MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma
Thursday 3 October 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Marc Marquez won his sixth race of the year at Motorland Aragon, the rookie taking another step to a maiden MotoGP™ title after winning ahead of the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi who finished second and third respectively.
Conditions on Sunday were cool and dry, with track temperatures peaking at 34°C during the race. The mild temperatures saw the whole grid select softer rear slick options, while all but four riders selected the hard compound front slick for Sunday’s twenty-three lap contest. The pace at this year’s Aragon Grand Prix was the quickest at this venue since its introduction to the calendar in 2010, with new qualifying and race lap records being set and an overall race time seven seconds quicker than the previous record.
Q&A with Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
Can you summarise how the Aragon Grand Prix went for Bridgestone?
“In summary I would say that it was a pretty good weekend for Bridgestone. We had few incidents over the weekend which is always positive and the pace was quicker than in previous years, with new records set in qualifying and the race, while the overall race time was the quickest ever at this circuit. Despite conditions on Saturday morning resulting in minimal running during FP3, the teams were able to find bike setups that got the most out of the tyres and as a result, both the qualifying sessions and the race were closely fought. The cooler weather precluded the use of the harder rear slick in the race, and over the race distance both front slick specifications offered strong, consistent performance.”
The weather in previous years at Aragon has been quite varied, was it the same again this year and how did this affect Bridgestone’s preparation for the race?
“Yes, the weather can play its part at this circuit and we did have some overnight rain on Saturday which disrupted FP3. On Thursday, the day before the first practice sessions, track temperatures in the afternoon were around 50°C, while on Sunday afternoon, the track temperatures were some twenty degrees less, so this is a good example of how much things can change at this circuit. We planned for this potential for changeable weather through our front tyre allocation, by offering front slick options that were two steps apart in hardness. For example, at most races our front tyre compounds are one step apart in hardness such as soft and medium, or medium and hard, but for Aragon our two specifications were the soft and hard compound to ensure the widest operating temperature range.”
Only four riders selected the softer front slick for the race, although two of these riders were on the podium. What advantages does the soft front slick offer over the hard option?
“The soft compound front slick offers better grip on the very edge of the tyre, plus offers better warm-up performance than the hard compound front slick. Hence, it tends to be more popular in cooler weather. That said, even in the warmer afternoon temperatures we saw some riders, particularly from Yamaha, try the soft front slick in FP4 and during qualifying and from this it was evident that with the right bike setup, this option could provide very good performance in warmer temperatures. In the end only four riders selected the soft front slick for the race, but leading up to the race more riders were considering using this option due to the cooler temperatures on Sunday. Ultimately both front slick options performed well, the top two riders in the race used the soft option, while a new race lap record was set by Dani on the hard front slick. It was pleasing to see both options perform so well at such a technical circuit as Aragon.”