Indy MotoGP: Bridgestone Tire Debrief

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Red Bull Grand Prix

The Indianapolis Grand Prix was run under clear skies and a burning sun, sending the track temperature soaring to a peak of 55 degrees Celsius during the race.

It was the joint highest track temperature of the season, equal with Catalunya in July, and was a severe challenge for Bridgestone’s tires. Despite this heat though, even the softer option rear proved its performance during the race.

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa took his third victory of the season while Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies was second to score his best MotoGP result to date.

Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo continued his impressive record of finishing on the podium at every race this season with a fighting ride to third, having slipped to fifth by the end of the first lap.

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

Q. How did the conditions in Indianapolis affect tire performance over the weekend?

A. “Indianapolis is a tough track for the rear tires, especially the left shoulder because of the many left-handed turns and the abrasiveness of the asphalt, but the very high temperature made durability and stability even more crucial.”

“Throughout the weekend all riders favoured the harder front tire because it has better stability at high temperatures and therefore gave the riders more confidence in the front-end of their bikes. Rear tire choices were mixed though as even the softer option proved it had sufficient durability in the race.”

“By the end of the 28-lap race tire performance had dropped slightly, as you would expect, but even so the pace of Ben and Jorge, who were the highest two riders using the softer rear, was very impressive. This is testament to the riders too, as they both rode very impressively and used their tires very well. It would have been easy with too much spinning to generate excess tire temperature in the softer rear, but they managed tire wear effectively and this showed in their results.”

Q. Did you expect it to be so hot?

“We have a great deal of experience at Indianapolis with our activities in Formula One and IndyCar, as well as MotoGP, so we expected hot conditions in this time of year. We also know that the circuit generates high motorcycle tire temperature in the rear slicks and that’s why we brought our hard asymmetric and extra hard asymmetric slicks, which are the two hardest compounds in our range and the extra hard compound in particular was designed to cope with such high tyre temperatures.”

Q. Was it a surprise that even with the track at 55 degrees Celsius, the softer option rear motorycle tire worked well over race distance?

“We have confidence in the performance of our tires, but still I’m impressed with the consistency of our softer option rear motorcycle slicks during the race. Jorge was able to set his personal best of the race on lap 23 out of 28 which is a good indicator, and until two laps from the end every lap of Ben’s was within 0.5seconds of his personal best which shows that their rider and bike packages are well developed to use our tires efficiently.”