MotoGP: Bridgestone Pre-Race Indy Report
The Brickyard plays host to the second American grand prix of the season as MotoGP travels to Indy, five weeks after the last North American visit to Laguna Seca.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a relatively new venue for the premier class in motorcycle racing, with the inaugural event being held in only 2008, but it was a motorcycle race that provided the circuit’s first competition proper back in 1909.
Since then much has changed, and again this year Bridgestone will provide tires to motorcycles that will reach over 200mph around the 2.6-mile course, piloted by Fiat Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, and of course the americans: Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden, and the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha duo of Ben Spies and Colin Edwards.
Indianapolis is one of the circuit’s at which Bridgestone has the largest breadth of tire information having been involved in MotoGP, Formula One and IndyCar competition there over the years.
The track is formed of three distinct component parts; the famous oval, the infield road circuit built for Formula One in 1999, and the complex built specifically for MotoGP in 2007.
This mix of parts presents the challenge of different surface types each with differing levels of abrasion and grip, making it tricky to attain a consistent balance and feeling throughout a lap.
Indianapolis’ asymmetric layout places much higher demands on the left shoulders of the motorcycle tires as it is run anti-clockwise, in the same direction as the circuit’s oval races.
There is a big difference in tire temperature between each shoulder of the rear tires, so Bridgestone’s asymmetric rear slicks aim to provide durability in the left shoulder by using the hard and extra hard compound options alongside good warm-up performance in the right shoulders by using soft compound rubber.
Indy is one of the four hardest circuits of the season for the left shoulders of the rear tires because of the number, length and speed of the left-handers and the abrasiveness of the tarmac. It is on a par with Catalunya (although here the greater stress is on the right shoulder), Sachsenring and Phillip Island.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department)says: “Indianapolis is an historic place and one that we look forward to going back to, even if just to marvel at the scale of it! In the middle of their centennial era celebrations, I would like to say congratulations for this milestone and I’m happy that we can be involved in marking the history of such a famous circuit.”
“America is an important market for Bridgestone therefore many people will visit Indianapolis during the GP from Bridgestone USA including some top management. We have a lot of experience at Indianapolis, even though only two years in MotoGP, because of our past Formula One activities there and especially our continuing IndyCar involvement through our Firestone brand.”
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department) says: “Indianapolis is quite unique in that it features three kinds of track surface during a lap, from the oval track to the Formula One section and the MotoGP complex. The characteristics of these surfaces range from grippy and abrasive to quite slippery, so the diversity of track conditions makes it difficult for riders and tires.”
“The circuit is very hard on the left side of the rear tires, which require good performance at high temperature and high wear resistance through the high speed left corners especially around the section of oval banking. The right side by contrast needs good warm-up performance to rapidly generate tyre temperature and provide riders with a good consistent feeling through the fewer right-hand corners. The rear tires we have selected are the inverse of those we brought to Catalunya; that is to say the same asymmetric compounds but with the harder compound on the left side.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Medium, Hard.
Rear: Hard, Extra Hard (Asymmetric)