Australia MotoGP: Bridgestone Pre-Race Report
The final round of the back-to-back trio that has seen MotoGP in Japan and Malaysia in the last two weeks takes place in Australia at the Phillip Island circuit on 17 October.
Phillip Island is the fastest circuit on the calendar with a record average speed set in qualifying in 2008 by pole-sitter and race-winner Casey Stoner of 180.598km/h.
The layout of the track is fast and flowing, with the Honda Hairpin representing the only real heavy braking point in the lap.
Situated on the southern coast of Australia, the circuit is widely recognized as the most spectacular but the most demanding circuit visited by the MotoGP paddock, and it generates the highest rear tire temperatures of the season despite the low ambient temperature.
By contrast, the loads on the front tires are minimal.The predominantly left-handed circuit features some particularly fast and long corners, namely the final corner which really tests the left shoulder of the rear tires as riders accelerate hard out of it onto the main straight whilst carrying high angles of lean.
The intense lateral loads translate to very high tire temperature, and it is for this reason that the rear Bridgestone slicks selected are a special construction to ensure their heat resistance and durability.
Asymmetric rear tyres are vital at Phillip Island to balance the intense heat in the left shoulders with the relatively low demands placed on the right shoulders as there are few right-hand corners.
Coupled with the low ambient temperature, warm-up performance on the right side is crucial. The rear tires Bridgestone have selected for Phillip Island are the same as last year apart from extra soft compound rubber that is used in the right shoulder of the softer option rear to aid warm-up performance, particularly in the cold morning sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “Last year in Australia we enjoyed our 50th MotoGP win, fittingly with Casey Stoner and the Ducati Team with whom we achieved our first World Championship title.”
“It’s the third race in as many weekends in what is a very gruelling and tiring time of the season, especially after the heat of Malaysia which really tested the fitness of the riders and the teams. Phillip Island is much cooler, but this brings a totally different challenge to Sepang so everyone will need to be able to adapt quickly to the new conditions.”
“The championship is sealed, but there are still many battles for positionso I’m sure we will continue to see close racing in Australia and for the rest of the season.”
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department) says: “Phillip Island has a low ambient temperature but is a high speed circuit with an asymmetric anticlockwise layout that has more lefts than rights.”
“Whilst the ambient temperature is cool, the long and fast last corner generates the highest rear tire temperature of the season in the left shoulders so this requires a special construction to cope with the heat.”
“By contrast, there are few right hand corners so the right shoulder of the tires requires good warm-up performance. Coupled with the cool ambient conditions, we are using our extra soft compound rubber in the right shoulder of the softer option rear to improve warm-up feeling for the riders as we expect cold conditions, particularly in the morning.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Soft, Medium.
Rear: Hard, Extra Hard