Bridgestone Assen MotoGP Preview
Ahead of the Dutch TT, Bridgestone – the spec tire manufacturer for MotoGP – previews the round, explaining the circuit layout from a tire perspective.
Assen, the venue for round seven of the 2013 MotoGP season has one of the fastest average speeds on the calendar and its diverse, technical layout makes it a rider and fan favorite.
The Assen circuit is not particularly demanding for front tires so softer rubber compounds are offered in the front slicks to provide better grip and warm-up performance.
The rear tires are put under comparatively more stress and it is the right shoulders of the rear slicks that take the most punishment, especially in the sequence of corners from Mandeveen to Hoge Heide. As a result, asymmetric rear slicks with harder rubber on the right shoulder a must at this circuit.
Following a partial resurfacing of the track in 2006, grip levels vary in different parts of the Assen circuit and so Bridgestone will provide tires with rubber compounds towards the softer end of its range to ensure maximum rider safety.
Assen has always been harsh on rear tires due to its high average speed and numerous high-camber corners. However, the introduction of the 1000cc MotoGP machines and the corresponding increase in power output, performance and bike weight means this circuit is now classified as particularly severe for tires.
As a result, all rear slicks supplied for this race will be in the same heat-resistant construction used at Mugello, though in softer compound options to suit the layout of this circuit. CRT riders will be allocated the soft and medium-soft rear slick options, while the works riders will be able to choose from the medium-soft and medium compound rear slicks.
The main wet tire for the Dutch TT will be the soft compound though riders will be able to select up to two front and rear wet tires in the alternative hard compound if required.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “The Dutch TT at Assen is often an intriguing race as the circuit is fast and presents many overtaking opportunities. The weather often plays its part at this event and in recent years we have experienced a lot of variability in weather conditions, ranging from cold and wet to very warm and dry.
“The variety of corners at this circuit make it very important for teams to find a good setup as the bikes have to work well through slow and fast corners, while being nimble in the numerous changes of direction.
“For the first time this year we are bringing heat-resistant rear slicks to Assen and I believe that using this specification of tire combined with the softer rubber compound options we are offering for this race will provide the best combination of safety and performance.”
Shinji Aoki (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport T-re Development Department) says: “Assen is a fast and technical circuit that requires asymmetric tires because of the high loads placed on the right shoulder of the rear toires.
“Following its modification in 2006 there are two distinct types of tarmac, with the newer tarmac having less grip and also being less abrasive than the older surface. This difference in surface grip can also make the circuit tricky in wet conditions.
“The tires at this circuit have to cope with a wide range of corners from slow to high speed, and the layout means high grip levels on the shoulder and edges of the tire is crucial. The first few corners are linked as one and gradually tighten, requiring good right shoulder durability, and corners such as Ramshoek demand absolute commitment and generate high tire temperature.
“Since the heavier, more powerful 1000cc machines have been introduced to MotoGP we have had to reclassify Assen as a severe circuit for tires, so for the first time this year all rear slicks supplied for the Dutch TT are in our heat-resistant Special Construction specification.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Extra-soft & Soft; Rear: Soft, Medium-soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tire compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)