2012 Catalunya MotoGP Tire Analysis
The Catalunya Grand Prix took place under dry conditions on Sunday with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo winning his second successive race ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso to consolidate his position at the top of the MotoGP standings.
Weather conditions on the Friday and Saturday of the race weekend were very warm with track temperatures hovering in the mid-50°C range though for Sunday’s race, early morning rain and cloud cover resulted in much cooler track temperatures for the race.
Q&A with Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Department:
Q: Catalunya is very challenging for tires, particularly on the right side of the rear tire. How did the 2012 specification slick tires with their revised construction cope with these tough operating conditions?
Shinji Aoki says: “Even though our 2012 specification rear slick tires feature revisions to both construction and rubber compounds to give riders enhanced warm-up performance and improved rider feel, tire wear was not an issue for either of the rear slick tires we brought to Catalunya.
“The combination of rubber compounds we selected for both the softer and harder asymmetric rear tires at Catalunya were a good match for the unique demands of the circuit and provided predictable grip levels over the duration of the race.”
Q. The new specification front slick tire that was introduced at Jerez will become the standard front tire from the next round at Silverstone. Did many riders use it at Catalunya?
Shinji Aoki says: “For the race all riders decided to use the hard compound front slick tire as this provides better stability under heavy braking which at Catalunya with its two long straights is very important.
“We offered this hard compound option in the new specification front slick tire last weekend and fifteen of the twenty-one riders selected this option for the race. The feedback we received on the new specification front tire was that it provided a better feeling from the front-end, particularly in corner entry.”
“From the next race at Silverstone the new specification front slick tire will become the standard offering and will be offered in a wider range of compounds and I am looking forward to seeing how riders utilize this greater availability of the new front slick tire.”
Q. Both Friday and Saturday were quite warm but Sunday brought morning rain and cooler conditions. Did this affect tyre performance during the race?
Shinji Aoki says: “The cooler conditions didn’t have a negative effect on tire performance as we developed our 2012 specification slick tires to operate effectively and give predictable performance over a wider operating temperature range.
“Even though some riders reported poor grip levels on the circuit, the lap time of the first lap was nearly one second quicker than last year and the race pace for the first half of the race was also better than last year and this data suggests our 2012 specification tires performed very well at Catalunya.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)