MotoGP U.S.: Bridgestone Tire Talk Preview
Round nine of the season takes the MotoGP paddock to North America for the first time in 2010, to the peninsula of Monterey on the west cost of California. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of the most famous and iconic circuits on the calendar, and this season Bridgestone have adopted a different approach.
This year Bridgestone have selected asymmetric rear slick tires for the United States Grand Prix, having listened to calls from riders following last year’s race.
The asymmetric rear slicks comprise a harder compound in the left shoulder, for improved durability and stability at high temperature, and a softer compound in the right shoulder, for improved warm-up performance. This softer right shoulder will be particularly beneficial through turns three, four and ten, the circuit’s main right-handed corners.
Laguna Seca is the shortest circuit on the calendar with a short main straight of just 0.9km, meaning the tires spend less time upright and therefore have less time to cool down, resulting in higher tire temperatures than the ambient and track conditions would suggest.
The circuit’s elevation changes, particularly through the Corkscrew complex, require a good machine setup, and place a lot of importance on the performance of the front tire.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “This is our first visit to America this year, and it is always exciting to go to a world-famous circuit such as Laguna Seca. The circuit has produced some memorable MotoGP battles in recent times, and there have been four different winners in as many years, so I am looking forward to another good race. I think this grand prix also demonstrates well our philosophy in MotoGP, which is to continually improvement and provide the best support to teams and riders we can. After listening to comments from last year, we have selected asymmetric rear tires for this season which I believe will help increase the safety for riders and improve the show.”
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department) says:
“Laguna Seca is the shortest circuit on the calendar but this doesn’t make it any easier for the tires. The Corkscrew is a really demanding corner with the fast change of direction and elevation and a strong front tire is very important to cope with the elevation changes. Performance through the right-handed corners is critical, and this is where we have focused our improvements this year.”
“Last year we saw some crashes through turn ten during qualifying and we spoke at length with the riders, listened carefully to what they had to say and deeply analyzed the situation, and as a result we have selected asymmetric rear tires for this year to give the riders more confidence and better grip through the right-handers. The softer right shoulder has a wider temperature operating range and better warm-up, so I am feeling confident about tire performance.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Medium, Hard
Rear: Medium, Hard (asymmetric)