Weather and tire selection will be a factor in Le Mans
After the glorious sunshine of the Jerez weekend MotoGP’s sole tyre suppliers are expecting varied conditions at Le Mans.
Two weekends complicated by rain in Qatar and Japan gave Bridgestone plenty of experience in dealing with unpredictable weather, as they commenced their work as the single tyre suppliers to MotoGP, and after a more straightforward visit to Spain the Japanese company will be ready for all possibilities at the Grand Prix de France this weekend.
Expecting cooler track conditions and more inclement weather than at Jerez, Bridgestone have therefore opted for soft and medium compound front slicks, as used at Motegi and the Losail International Circuit.
In terms of rear options Bridgestone will also provide soft and medium choices, as has been the case at every GP so far this season. In the case of rain, soft wet tyres will be available – the compound which was also used in Motegi on Friday afternoon and for Saturday morning’s free practice.
The Grand Prix de France takes place on the same weekend as it was last year, so Bridgestone anticipate an air temperature of 15 to 25°C and a track temperature of 20 to 35 °C, much less than the 49°C track temperature in Jerez.
Bridgestone’s Motorcycle Race Tyre Development Manager Tohru Ubukata explained the choices for round four, saying, "The cooler climate in France means that we can run softer compounds, especially with the front tyre. Le Mans has quite a stop-go nature and a number of slow corners, so the loads placed on the tyres through the corners are lower but braking stability and traction are the key areas for tyre performance.
He continued, "The exit of turn nine is a little different though as riders accelerate hard through a long right-hander, demanding good traction from the right shoulder of the rear tyre. We have seen rain at Le Mans for the last two years so we can expect more wet weather during the weekend, which, with the cooler temperatures, is why we have selected the soft compound Bridgestone wets."