2014 MotoGP at Circuit of the Americas
The 2014 MotoGP Championship continues this weekend with its only stop in the USA at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. A young Marc Marquez took the win – the first of his premier-class career. The circuit debuted on the MotoGP calendar last year, and provided many challenges for Bridgestone – the spec tire of the premier-MotoGP class. Following is Bridgestone’s preview of COTA MotoGP from a tire perspective:
After a successful debut event last year, MotoGP returns to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas with legions of American fans set to be thrilled after an intense season opener at Qatar (2013 Austin MotoGP Results).
The Circuit of the Americas packs every type of corner into its 3.41 miles making it one of the more technical venues on the calendar. Elevation changes, the longest straight in MotoGP, and a combination of slow and fast corners makes the circuit a real challenge for the riders and tires.
The fast, sweeping corners require high levels of edge grip, while drive grip from the center section of the tire is also important as there are many hard acceleration zones at this track. The riders approach a top speed of almost 220 mph down the 3/4-mile long back straight, so excellent front tire stability is required for the hard braking zone into turn 12.
Overall, the layout of the Circuit of The Americas places similar loads on both shoulders of the rear tires, yet the presence of high speed right-hand corners at turns sixteen to eighteen and turn six, means the temperature of the right shoulder of the rear tire reaches a higher level than the left side, even though there are more left-hand turns. Consequently, asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulders are offered for this circuit.
Open class and Ducati riders will be offered the soft and medium compound asymmetric rear slicks, while the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders can utilize the medium and hard compound rear. With front-end feel important through the faster sections of the track, the front slick options for this circuit – the soft and medium compounds – are selected for the best combination of grip and stability.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “Last year’s inaugural MotoGP round at Circuit of The Americas was a resounding success, both on and off the track so I am very happy to be returning to Austin. North America is one of our most important markets so being able to support MotoGP as Official Tire Supplier at such a fantastic venue is of great value to Bridgestone.
“The season opener at Qatar was incredibly close in terms of the competitiveness among the riders, and I hope that this weekend’s action proves to be just as thrilling for the fans. This circuit has a real mix of corners and presents some good overtaking opportunities and now that all the teams have last year’s data to build upon, I expect to see the riders pushing hard from the first practice session.”
Shinji Aoki (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Division) says: “This year will be our second visit to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas and the impressive layout of this track presents quite a challenge for tire development. COTA is run in a counter-clockwise direction and the track is technical with a mix of tight, slower corners and faster, more open sections.
“These features combine to place a great importance on front-end feel, as maintaining good corner speed is important here. Therefore our front tires need to provide good grip characteristics with plenty of stability. The rear tires must also provide good drive out of the slower corners. The fast right-hand corners are quite severe on tires, so at this circuit we provide asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Medium; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)