Bridgestone: MotoGP Le Mans Tire Talk

MotoGP Report

The third round of the 2010 FIM MotoGP World Championship was run at the historic Le Mans venue where the conditions were the hottest they have ever been at the circuit during a MotoGP session.

Jorge Lorenzo won his first consecutive pair of races in the MotoGP class, followed by Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso who passed teammate Dani Pedrosa on the last lap to take the final step of the podium.

Hector Barbera was the highest-placed rookie, scoring his highest MotoGP finish in eighth position, followed by Aleix Espargaro in ninth which was also his best MotoGP result.

The track temperature rose steadily through the weekend, peaking during the race at 48 degrees Celsius.

Q&A with Tohru Ubukata – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

Q: What did the high track temperature mean for the tyres this weekend?

Tohru Ubukata says: "The conditions at Le Mans were hotter than we could have expected, seeing as the track temperature is normally around 35 degrees Celsius even if it is sunny, and more often than not we experience rain."

"However, even if we had forecast this in advance we wouldn’t have changed our tyre compound selection. Le Mans is a smooth and slippery circuit so requires relatively softer compounds to generate grip, and our soft and medium slick compounds could deal with the increased temperature because of their wider temperature operating range."

"I can say that I am very pleased with their performance too. Our all-new medium compound asymmetric rear slick proved very consistent throughout the race, and its durability was good as Nicky’s fastest lap came on lap 20 of the 28 lap race which shows he was using his tyres well."

Q: What about the performance of the soft compound slicks?

Tohru Ubukata says: "Le Mans is a circuit with some heavy braking areas so every rider except Mika favoured the harder option front tyre for its increased stability under braking. However, in the race three riders used the soft rear slick: Aleix, Hiroshi and Mika."

"Aleix finished in ninth using a soft rear tyre which was a very good performance, and showed that even the soft compound rear had good race-distance durability. In fact, Aleix’s final lap of the race was only 0.3seconds slower than his fastest lap, so this shows that our soft specification had good performance throughout."

"This for me is a very good point and an advantage of the single tyre era. During tyre competition, tyre manufacturers had to focus mainly on outright grip and this naturally led to more temperature sensitivity so many tyre specs were required."

"Now there are strict regulations that permit only two tyre specs per event so it is important that our tyres have a much wider temperature operating range. We saw the evidence of this range better than ever in France: from Saturday morning’s free practice to the race the track temperature increased by 23 degrees Celsius yet even our softest compound rubber had a wide enough range to cope with both conditions which I am very pleased about."

"This wider temperature operating range technology is also very important for our road tyres like Battlax BT-023 and BT-003 RS, as on the road it is more important to be able to ride in all conditions, from hot to cold, with just one tyre."

"Having a wider temperature range means more grip and safer riding from the start of your journey, and this is an area in which we are able to really demonstrate our technology transfer from MotoGP to the road."

Round 3: France GP – Post-Race Tire Notes – Le Mans

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Soft, Medium (asymmetric – Med. only)

All Riders Selected Medium Front and Soft Rear.

1. (99) Jorge LORENZO, SPA, Fiat Yamaha, 44:29.114 (158.0 km/4)
2. (46) Valentino ROSSI, ITA, Fiat Yamaha, +5.672
3. (4) Andrea DOVIZIOSO, ITA, Repsol Honda Team, +7.872
4. (69) Nicky HAYDEN, USA, Ducati Marlboro Team, +9.346
5. (26) Dani PEDROSA, SPA, Repsol Honda Team, +12.613
6. (33) Marco MELANDRI, ITA, San Carlo Honda Gresini, +21.918
7. (14) Randy DE PUNIET, FRA, LCR Honda MotoGP, +29.288
8. (40) Hector BARBERA, SPA, Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati, +33.128
9. (41) Aleix ESPARGARO, SPA, Pramac Racing Team Ducati, +33.493
10. (58) Marco SIMONCELLI, ITA, San Carlo Honda Gresini, +33.805
11. (7) Hiroshi AOYAMA, JPN, Interwetten Honda MotoGP, +34.346
12. (5) Colin EDWARDS, USA, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, +37.123
13. (36) Mika KALLIO, FIN, Pramac Racing Team Ducati, +55.061
DNF (65) Loris CAPIROSSI, ITA, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki, 22 Laps remaining
DNF (11) Ben Spies, USA, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, 22 Laps
DNF (27) Casey STONER, AUS, Ducati Marlboro Team, 26 Laps