The traditional last MotoGP race at Valencia of the season was an emotional one, marking the departure of Valentino Rossi from the Fiat Yamaha team and of Casey Stoner from Ducati, as well as a number of other riders.
Conditions all MotoGP weekend were good, although the mornings were cold and right from the first practice laptimes were fast; in qualifying the top seven riders all lapped under the lap record and pole-man Stoner was almost 0.8seconds under it.
Tire performance was generally good all weekend, with MotoGP riders favoring the harder option front slick for its extra braking stability and a mix of rear tire choices in the race.
Stoner was second using a harder option rear, but Lorenzo and Rossi were among the MotoGp riders who favored the softer option rear for its extra edge grip, especially through the right-hand corners because of its use of the extra-soft compound rubber.
Jorge Lorenzo proved very strong and consistent to take the Valencia MotoGP victory ahead of Casey Stoner with Valentino Rossi third.
Q&A with Tohru Ubukata – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
Q. How well did the tires perform in the cold morning conditions?
TU: “We can see from Casey’s laptimes that warm-up performance was very good for the softer option slicks as from only his third or fourth lap of each session he was lapping very quickly despite a low morning track temperature of around 17 degrees Celsius. We used the extra soft compound rubber in the right shoulder of the softer rear slicks specifically to provide this good warm-up performance and received positive feedback from all MotoGP riders so I believe we have achieved our objective in this instance of listening to the riders and then improving upon our tire offerings.”
“I think the fact that the softer option rear slick was also sufficiently durable over race distance to allow Jorge to take victory using it demonstrates the improved operating range we have developed in this asymmetric rear tyre by using the extra soft compound.”
Q. How can you sum up the year now that the racing season has finished?
TU: “Generally I’m satisfied with our tire performance this year and the development steps we have taken. Earlier in the year there was a lot of talk about warm-up performance in cold conditions, but we addressed this seriously with the MotoGP riders and the Safety Commission and we worked closely with them to take steps to help the situation, such as offering softer compounds for those races we knew would be cold and introducing our new extra soft compound.”
“I’d like to thank the riders and the teams for their support in reaching the situation we have now, and we will keep working closely with them into the future.”This year we have set eight new lap records (including new MotoGP circuits Silverstone and Aragon and a slightly remodeled Assen, meaning records at a third of the fifteen races that were unchanged from last year) which I am pleased with as it shows that even though we no longer have a situation of tire competition, tire performance has not suffered.”
“I am satisfied with our tire specifications now and rider and team feedback is good so, whilst we are continuing our development work, we will not make any radical changes for next season. Of course this is also important in providing consistency and continuity for the teams and riders so that they are able to pursue their own testing and development plans more effectively.”