Round 14 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship takes Bridgestone to their home grand prix in Japan on Oct. 3, held at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit near Mito, just a few hours from the Tokyo headquarters of Bridgestone Corporation.
After the original calendar slot in April, the Icelandic volcanic eruption and the ensuing travel disruptions forced a rescheduled date at the start of October as the first of a trio of overseas grands prix in Japan, Malaysia and Australia.
This date change means that the prevailing conditions are expected to be warmer than at the start of the year so Bridgestone have revised the slick tire selection in favor of slightly harder compounds to offer better performance more suited to the early October climate.
Asymmetric slicks have also been selected this year as the Japanese Grand Prix is one of a number of races at which asymmetric rear slick tire usage has been increased this season.
The 4.8km circuit features four long and fast straights followed by very heavy braking points, and the circuit’s layout is characterized by hard acceleration followed by heavy braking.
This places the emphasis on front tire stability and a strong centre section, and good traction from the rear tire. The most notable exception to this is the very fast and flowing section from 130R to S-corner, through which the riders must have complete confidence to commit.
Last year the weather played havoc with riders’ track-time, causing qualifying to be cancelled and giving teams just one hour of dry running before the race, during which the temperature was ten degrees warmer than it had been all weekend.
Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo took his first victory on Bridgestone tires ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “Motegi has always been an important event for Bridgestone and one at which we have reached many milestones so it holds special memories for me. It is our home event, the circuit at which Makoto Tamada scored only our second MotoGP victory back in 2004, and our first two World Championships were also decided in Motegi, with Casey and Ducati in 2007 and Valentino and Fiat Yamaha in 2008.”
“We have seen some exciting races in Motegi in the past andas we enter the final phase of this season and the championship race gathers pace I’m sure this time will be no different. At Motegi Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki will also be performing in front of their home crowd, so all in all I’m excited about this grand prix.”
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department) says: “Motegi has a stop-and-go nature featuring some heavy braking and hard acceleration points which traditionally tend to bunch the field and provide close racing. A strong center section of each tire is essential for stability from the front under heavy braking and traction from the rear when accelerating hard.”
“It is in these areas that our tyres will face the greatest pressure in Motegi. With the change of date the temperature is higher than it would have been in April so we have amended our compound selection to go one step harder front and rear. The track surface is high-grip and quite abrasive, and the circuit layout doesn’t feature many left-hand corners so this year, taking into account riders’ feedback from last year,we have decided to bring asymmetric rear slicks.”
“We continuously study last year’s data and we listen to the riders in an effort to refine our compound specifications and Motegi is a good example of this.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Medium, Hard.
Rear: Medium, Hard (asymmetric)