The Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno was the first race after the MotoGP summer break, and was won by championship leader Fiat Yamaha Jorge Lorenzo. Joining him on the podium were Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa and Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner.
Conditions throughout the weekend were unpredictable and Friday and Saturday practice and Sunday’s warm-up were all affected by rain. This meant reduced dry running time for the teams ahead of what was a dry race, and the downpours also affected the track conditions. The event was followed by a one-day official test on Monday, Aug. 16, during which Bridgestone continued testing with developmental front slick tires.
Q&A with Tohru Ubukata – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
Q. What can you say about track conditions over the weekend?
“I think the weather conditions made this weekend very hard for the riders and teams because of the interrupted running right from the first session on Friday. Hard rain overnight on Friday left track conditions tricky on Saturday, and more overnight rain followed by heavy rain showers on Sunday morning left it more slippery and even slower for the race. There are many downhill corners at Brno which throw bike weight forward and demand more from the front tire, and if the bike setup is not optimized the affects appear greater at Brno because of this.”
“The rain-interrupted sessions meant that teams had less time in the dry to work on their setups, after each rain shower the track conditions were changed slightly and strong winds were experienced during the race, and all of these factors had an
effect on laptimes.”
Q. What about Bridgestone’s tire selection for this weekend?
“We selected exactly the same tire compound positions for Brno this year as we did in 2009: the hard and extra hard front slick tires and the medium and hard rears. The only difference is that the medium rear is an improved compound for this year that we have used since the start of the season. Last year almost all riders used the harder rear tyre, largely because the track temperature was ten degrees hotter than it was this time and the softer option did not have sufficient consistency over race distance. This year every rider was able to use the softer rear because of the cooler track temperature and the fact that the improved compound had sufficient durability for the race. The front tires used in the race by all riders were exactly the same as those chosen in 2009.”
“I can also add that with a dry Sunday afternoon, no rain overnight, and no wind for the official test on Monday, riders were immediately faster than race pace even without the new updates that were tested so I think this shows how much affect the rain and wind had on times in the race. Using the same tires as he did for the race, Jorge’s fastest time was almost 1.3 seconds faster and his time of 1m 56.269 was faster than last year’s lap record and only 0.1seconds from the pole position record.”
Q. What did you test during the official test on Monday?
“The test was an important opportunity to progress our experimental front tire testing and evaluation and we gained some valuable data even though the test was cut short by rain in the afternoon. I would like to express my gratitude to the teams and riders for their support in our testing. Working with the best riders in the world is a valuable asset to Bridgestone in terms of both Motorsport development and evolution in our road products.”
“We brought a new developmental front tire for each rider to test so we could obtain their feedback and collect data to allow us to determine the best direction for future development. This is the second step in the testing we started at the beginning of the season and the feedback and results are positive so I am happy our ongoing technical development is in the right direction.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Hard, Extra Hard.
Rear: Medium, Hard