Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo was in dominant form at Mugello and led from the first corner to the checkered flag for his fifth win of the 2012 MotoGP season ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Monster Yamaha Tech 3′s Andrea Dovizioso.
Conditions for the race were good with track temperatures reaching a peak of 49°C and for the first time since Qatar, teams enjoyed a dry track for every session and temperatures were stable over the whole weekend so there was ample time for teams to find a good setup in time for Sunday’s race. Tire choice trended towards the harder slicks both front and rear, with only six of the twenty riders selecting the softer rear slick for the race.
Lorenzo now leads Pedrosa by nineteen points in the championship standings, while Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner is a further eighteen points back in third position overall.
Q&A with Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Department
Q. Bridgestone supplied two different construction options for the harder rear slick at Mugello. Was there a difference in performance between these two options and which was the more popular choice for the race?
Shinji Aoki says: “Aside from our regular tire allocation for Mugello, we decided to supply each rider with four special construction rear slick tires in the hard compound as a precaution against excessive tire temperatures. This is the first time we have offered the special construction rear tire for Mugello, though we do supply it at other circuits like Sachsenring and Phillip Island.
“In comparison to the regular construction rear slick, some riders reported a slight decrease in edge grip when using the special construction rear slick, but the overall feel of the tire is very similar and no significant difference in performance was reported. Actually, some riders were able to set quicker lap times on the special construction harder rear slick in comparison to the regular construction option when doing long runs on Friday and Saturday.
“As track temperatures for the race were slightly lower than they were on Saturday, most of the riders selected the harder compound rear slick in the regular construction, but if track temperatures for the race were warmer, I believe more of the riders on works bikes would have selected the special construction rear slick.”
Q. You also offered a softer rear slick option and though this was used widely in qualifying, only six riders selected it for the race. What was the reason for this?
Shinji Aoki says: “As we have seen so far this season, conditions have been highly variable over race weekends so our tire allocation for each race has to cater for a wide range of temperatures and track conditions.
“For the works bikes, the softer rear slick was a good option for qualifying as the extra grip it provides makes it well suited to a time attack situation, but as temperatures at Mugello this weekend were quite warm – as they usually are – the softer rear slick may not have provided the necessary race durability for the more powerful bikes on the grid. However, had we experienced unexpectedly cool conditions at Mugello, use of the softer rear slick would have been much more widespread.
“In the end, some of the CRT riders felt comfortable selecting this option as their lower power output and pace compared to the works bikes mean they impose less force on the tires and can make them last the race distance.
Q. All riders selected the harder front slick for qualifying and the race. What advantages did this option offer over the softer front slick?
Shinji Aoki says: “As track temperatures were quite warm at Mugello this weekend, the need for warm-up performance was not so great so the softer compound front slick was hardly used. Instead, the superior durability and stability under braking and in high-speed corners offered by the harder front slick made it the logical choice for riders in qualifying and the race.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard; Rear: Medium, Hard* (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tire compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
* The hard compound rear slick tire was available in both regular and special constructions at Mugello this weekend.