Motorcycle Racing News Australian MotoGP: Bridgestone Friday Report

Australian MotoGP: Bridgestone Friday Report

Phillip Island Grand Prix

The opening practice session of the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island finally got under way Friday after a delay of almost two hours caused by heavy rain that was causing particular problems at turn eleven.

After great effort by the organisers and track staff, aided by the morning rain easing off, the rivulets of water flowing across the track were cleared and drained. By the time the MotoGP machines were on track, the rain had ceased and by the end of the hour-long session a dry line had appeared around most of the lap although high winds continued to batter the riders.

Still, for the first time since the Grand Prix of Aragon, all riders used Bridgestone’s wet tires for the duration of the session.

Conditions were very difficult for riders and tires as the track surface was slippery and the ambient temperature was the coldest of the season so far, but increasingly as the track dried tire temperatures rose in the left shoulder of the rear tires because of the demanding layout of Phillip Island which generates the highest rear tire temperatures of the year.

Newly-crowned World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was fastest followed by Casey Stoner and Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden. Marcos Simoncelli and Melandri of San Carlo Honda Gresini were fourth and fifth in a strong opening day for the team.

Dani Pedrosa completed seven laps in what was his first outing since his injury in Japan two weeks ago. As per the regulations, Bridgestone selected just one compound of wet tires for Phillip Island; the soft compound.

Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department) says: “The conditions during the session were very difficult because the track was drying quite quickly and so the level of grip was always changing, and the temperature was very low.”

“In fact, the track was just nine degrees Celsius which is the coldest we’ve seen this season. Nevertheless, our wet tires worked well from the start of the session when it was fully wet until a dry line appeared.”

“All riders used just one set of wet tires for the whole session, and some were still improving their laptimes right until the end including Marco Melandri, Valentino and Colin. I am happy with durability as our wet tyres have shown they can cope with conditions from full wet to a dry line, and even with the cold temperature warm-up performance and grip were good.”

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

2021 Honda CRF450R Review (12 First Ride Fast Facts from Glen Helen)

The 2021 Honda CRF450R is all-new for 2021. The entirely new chassis, bodywork, exhaust, and hydraulic clutch highlight the changes to the CRF450R. Add to...

Arai Spoiler EX2 for the Corsair-X Helmet First Look

The Arai Corsair-X is the Japanese company’s flagship helmet and intended for riders of the highest performance motorcycle. MotoGP racers Maverick Viñales of Monster...

2021 Indian Scout Lineup First Look: Five Models (Photos, Specs + Prices)

Although the five-motorcycle Indian Scout lineup is functionally unchanged for 2021—last year was a major expansion of the line—this year, Indian is offering new...

2020 Ural Weekender SE First Look: Special Edition Sidecar

Just in time for autumn, Ural lets loose with the 2020 Ural Weekender SE. Based on the 2WD Gear Up model, the Weekender SE...

Royal Enfield American Flat Track Debut: AFT Production Twins Class

Johnny Lewis debuted the Royal Enfield Twins FT in the Production Twins class at the American Flat Track Williams Grove Half-Mile I in Mechanicsburg,...

2021 Indian Roadmaster Limited First Look [Specs and Price]

The Indian Roadmaster line continues to expand, with the newest member being the 2021 Indian Roadmaster Limited. The Limited branding means the full dresser...