Bridgestone heads to Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit to support the first MotoGP group test of 2013, as the world’s largest rubber goods manufacturer begins its fifth season as the official tire supplier to the class.
In keeping with Bridgestone’s philosophy of creating safer race tires with superior warm-up performance and rider feel, tire development over the winter focused on creating a suite of softer rear slicks specifically for the CRT class. Bridgestone has also recently developed a new, more user-friendly hard rubber compound.
The CRT-specific rear slicks represent the first time Bridgestone has made different specifications of tire for the CRT machines, that use production-based engines, and the ‘works’ bikes – the factory and satellite entries from Ducati, Honda and Yamaha.
The slicks developed for the CRT class will feature the same construction, though they will utilize compounds one step softer than those provided to the “works” bikes.
For example, at Sepang, the “works” bikes will be allocated the medium and hard compound slicks while the CRT machines will be supplied with slick options that are one step softer – soft and medium.
The upcoming Sepang test marks the first major trial for this new range of slicks developed for CRT entries. Bridgestone will analyze data from the riders using these new slicks, while also working closely with Dorna and the FIM before a final decision will be made on whether these tires are made available for the upcoming season.
Bridgestone’s other off-season development, a revised hard rubber compound, is slightly softer in composition moving it closer to the medium specification compound in character. This improvement aims to further widen the performance window of slick tires using the hard rubber compound, encouraging greater use of this option at races. Bridgestone will supply the “works” machines with experimental tires featuring this new hard rubber compound at Sepang for evaluation.
This year the MotoGP World Championship will boast its largest full-time grid in many years and as always, Bridgestone will provide equal and fair support to each of the twenty-four riders taking part. In addition to supporting the group tests, Bridgestone’s engineers will travel all over the world to aid teams in their pre-season testing programs, working closely with the riders to help them get the most out of the 2013 specification tyres.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “The first group test of the year will certainly be busy, as all twenty-four full-time riders in MotoGP this season will take part, as well as five test riders, making a total of twenty-nine participants. It is pleasing that so many riders will take to the track in Malaysia as it shows that despite the difficult economic climate at the moment, the MotoGP championship is in good health and continues to grow.
“Bridgestone has a full testing plan in place for this first test which is a key event in our ongoing tire development program. We are also looking at ways to revise our tyre marking system to make tire identification easier for the media and fans, the first step of this process will take place at Sepang next week.”
Shinji Aoki (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department) says: “For last season the Motorsport Tire Development Department focused on improving the safety characteristics of Bridgestone’s MotoGP tires while maintaining high levels of performance. Although we were successful in achieving this objective, we’ve not rested on our laurels and have continued down this development path and as a result we will have a wide selection of slick tyres for riders to evaluate at Sepang.
“This first test in Malaysia is very important to our MotoGP tire development program as feedback from this test will steer development for the rest of the pre-season before we finalize our tire specifications for the year ahead.”