MotoGP Tire Analysis
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was the quickest rider in Friday practice at Indianapolis, the Spaniard being the only rider to break into the 1’39 bracket on a green track surface that provided a stern challenge to the 23 riders contesting this weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Pedrosa’s time of 1:39.783 was 0.295 seconds quicker than hometown hero Ben Spies, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider showing his prowess at a circuit that has yielded him two podiums in the last two years. Third quickest today was Spies’ teammate Jorge Lorenzo who clocked a best time of 1:40.502.
The circuit was lashed by heavy rain yesterday afternoon which washed away the little rubber that was laid down during a test on Saturday by the wildcard entries taking part in this weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix. Consequently, lap times in this morning’s FP1 session were quite slow as riders adapted to the low grip levels, with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner topping the session with a time of 1:41.925.
Track conditions for FP2 were better with improved grip levels as the circuit rubbered in, and track temperatures reached a peak of 48°C. Tyre choice varied greatly throughout the day, with softer compounds front and rear preferred in FP1, though as track temperatures increased in the afternoon session tyre preference switched to the harder rear slicks front and rear, however some riders still preferred the feel of the softer slick options.
The next MotoGP session is FP3 at 1010 local time (GMT -4) followed by the one hour qualifying session which kicks off at 1355.
Masao Azuma (Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department) says: “Today was a challenging day for the riders as the track was green for FP1 so the pace was quite slow as riders assessed the grip levels. As track conditions weren’t the best this morning, most riders preferred the better edge grip and warm up performance of the softer slick options, but as more rubber was laid on the circuit, the pace began to quicken and many riders switched to the harder slick options front and rear.
“As was the case last year, we noticed that some riders experienced graining on their rear tires in the practice sessions, though as the tarmac condition improved throughout the day the graining became less. Track conditions tomorrow should improve again so this should give the teams a good opportunity to perform long runs to help decide which combination of tires works best for them.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Photos by Ara Ashjian