Bridgestone Press Release: Shinji Aoki Talks Asymmetric Tires At Sachsenring, And Looks Ahead To Phillip Island

Bridgestone issued their customary post-race press debrief after the German round of MotoGP, in which there was a lot of talk of tires. Especially the front: with four different compounds/constructions, there was plenty of work for the teams to do. In the press release, Shinji Aoki talks about the evolution of the asymmetric tire, and its use in future races.

German MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Tuesday, July 14 2015

Bridgestone slick options: Front: Soft, Asymmetric Front, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre options: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)

For the third successive year the German Grand Prix was won by Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez who took a comfortable victory over teammate Dani Pedrosa and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi who crossed the finish line in second and third place respectively.

This year’s German Grand Prix saw Marquez beat all of the circuit records as he set a new Circuit Best Lap record (1’20.336) in qualifying, a new Circuit Record Lap (1'21.530) on lap 10 of the race, while the overall race time (41'01.087) beat the old record by eleven seconds.

Q&A with Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

At this year’s German Grand Prix an asymmetric front slick was made available to riders at Sachsenring for the first time. Was this tyre a popular choice and did it perform as you expected it to?

“Recently we have had the riders asking Bridgestone to develop an asymmetric front slick for Sachsenring, so it was a nice technical challenge to deliver what they wanted. This development wasn’t easy as no teams use Sachsenring for private testing, so it involved a lot of simulation work based on our existing data for the circuit and we didn’t have a chance to test this tyre at this circuit before offering it to the riders. However, I was confident that the asymmetric front slick we developed would be well received and already in the first free practice session at the German Grand Prix some riders were eager to try it. The asymmetric front slick for Sachsenring featured medium compound rubber for the centre and left sections of the tyre, with soft compound rubber on the right shoulder and this ensured good warm-up performance and temperature retention throughout the whole of front tyre. It not only increased rider safety but also proved to work well when track temperatures increased, with nineteen of the twenty-five riders selecting the asymmetric front slick for the race. We had a lot of good feedback from this specification of tyre so our decision to bring this tyre to Sachsenring was definitely justified.”

The tyre allocation at the German Grand Prix included four front slick options instead of the regular three options. Why was this change made and do you envisage this occurring at other races this season?

“In previous years we usually offered a hard compound front slick in our German Grand Prix tyre allocation as it is a demanding circuit and is quite abrasive. However, analysing the data from last year we felt that in a regular front tyre allocation, the best options this year were the soft compound for cool conditions and the asymmetric and medium front slicks as the ‘main’ options. Due to the very hot conditions in the Saxony region leading up to the race and a weather forecast that showed ambient temperatures ranging from 12°C-27°C over the race weekend, we decided to add a fourth front tyre option - the hard compound - into our allocation. The FIM regulations around tyre supply state that the tyre supplier can change the regular allocation to manage extreme conditions so we operated with that clause in mind. It turned out to be a good decision as on race day track temperatures were the hottest over the whole race weekend and it meant riders had another option available to them. Given the extremely unbalanced layout of Sachsenring and the large variation in weather conditions last weekend, I don’t think we will need to provide four front tyre options at other rounds this year as three options is usually more than enough. However, we will always work to ensure that the riders have enough options to manage every riding condition and are grateful to the FIM and the teams for helping us efficiently implement our expanded tyre allocation last weekend”

We have seen many new tyre specifications from Bridgestone in the first half of the 2015, can we expect development to continue at the same pace in the second half of the MotoGP season?

“Bridgestone is committed to continuing development throughout the 2015 MotoGP season and as a result we will see some new tyre developments in the second half of the season. Compared to last year we have changed the rear tyre allocation at many races so that in general, our asymmetric rear slicks feature softer compounds than at the corresponding rounds last year. Our asymmetric tyres will also feature at Phillip Island – where a brand new asymmetric front tyre, different to what we offered there last year has been developed – and also at Valencia. Our rear tyre allocation at Phillip Island will also be brand new for this year and will be specific to this circuit only. With these developments I hope that riders not only enjoy greater levels of safety and control, but that the incredibly fast pace we have seen in the first half of the year continues all the way through to Valencia.”

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does anyone have any stats on the number of records (pole, race lap, race time) that are being broken this year compared to last year(s)? I have the impression (but not more than that) that quite some records are smashed, besides the factories improving their machines all the time... could Bridgestone be upping their game in their last year as supplier? Leave on a high and have the next one (competition) a steep hill to climb?