Valencia MotoGP: Bridgestone Tire Preview
One week after the Portuguese Grand Prix, the MotoGP paddock heads to Valencia and the Ricardo Tormo circuit for the traditional season finale on Nov. 7.
With the MotoGP riders’, teams’ and constructors’ titles already decided, the final race of the year will be a battle to round off the season on a high, just two days before what is effectively the first event of the 2011 season when riders will join their new teams, most of whom will use new equipment in a two day test.
Being run in Europe in November, weather conditions are always a crucial consideration and in past MotoGP seasons at Valencia, the temperature has fluctuated significantly year-on-year, so the conditions will play an important role in riders’ tire compound choices.
Well prepared for the cooler European climes, Bridgestone has selected the soft and medium compound front slick tires and the medium and hard asymmetric rears, exactly the same as were prepared for Portugal MotoGP last weekend.
Although it was only used in the MotoGP race at Estoril, rider feedback was go so again Bridgestone’s new extra soft compound will be used in the rear tires in Valencia to provide better warm-up performance, especially in the colder morning sessions.
Valencia is a tight and twisty circuit and so does not give the tires much time to rest during a lap, so it is very important that teams get their MotoGP bikes using the tires most efficiently. With little chance during a lap to cool down, excess sliding can easily generate excess tire temperature.
With one of the longest total race distances of the year, the tires have 420 corners to contend with during the 30 laps at the Valencia MotoGP.
Two days after the Grand Prix, the traditional post-race Valencia test will also be held again over two days, and will be the first occasion at which next year’s rider changes will come into affect.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “There is always a special atmosphere in Valencia that many people look forward to because it is the last MotoGP race of the season and because it is where the trophies are awarded and the successes of the year recognized.”
“Although there are no championship titles left undecided, Spanish rounds are always popular and competition is sure to be just as intense. We also have the test after the Grand Prix which will be very important, not just because the rider changes will take effect but because there are a few new items that our technical department are testing.”
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department) says: “Valencia is a slippery and technically complex circuit with a slow, twisty asymmetric layout. It’s what we could call a busy circuit because the number of corners means that the tires are always working and have very little respite. Even though the ambient temperature is quite low, if a MotoGP bike’s setup isn’t optimized, it is easy to generate excess tire temperature because of this.”
“We will use the soft and medium front compounds but the front tire must be strong to cope with the heavy braking loads into the first corner. With the low track temperature softer rear compounds are also required to provide good grip but a harder compound is needed in the left shoulder of the rear tires because of the asymmetric layout and the tire temperature generated by the long left-handed last corner.”
“There are only a few tight right-handers so warm-up performance in the right shoulders is important, and this is why we are again using our extra soft compound in our softer option asymmetric rear tires in Valencia.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Soft, Medium.
Rear: Medium, Hard (both asymmetric)