2013 Valencia MotoGP Bridgestone Preview
There should be no tire issues at this weekend’s MotoGP season finale at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo Circuit, unless teams neglect setup. The track is tight and technical, offering tireless little relief between laps, so optimal bike setup will be key.
The layout of the circuit also means more stress is placed on the left shoulder of the tires, and an unbalanced bike setup can cause excessive rear tire temperatures which can lead to a loss of performance and accelerated tire wear.
To manage the unbalanced layout of Valencia, the asymmetric rear slicks feature rubber on the right shoulder that is two grades softer than on the left side. This ensures the lesser-used right shoulder of the rear tire stays at its ideal operating temperature and that the left shoulder provides the durability and stability needed for the many left hand turns.
Additionally, the front slick compounds allocated for this weekend need to provide enhanced warm-up performance and grip in the temperate weather.
Rear tire options for the CRT riders at Valencia are the soft and medium compounds, while the works riders will be able to use the medium and a brand new hard compound rear slick, which received extremely positive feedback from riders when tested at Misano this year. Front options at Valencia are the soft and medium compound slicks, while the main wet tire for the Valencia Grand Prix is the soft compound wet tire.
As the season enters the final round, it is the first year since 2006 when the title fight went down to the final round. All Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez needs is a fourth or better to become the first rookie to claim a MotoGP title since Freddie Spencer completed the feat in 1983. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo trails Marquez by 13 points, and is the only rider capable of taking the title from the 20-year-old Spaniard.
Following is some pre-race tire analysis from Bridgestone.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “I am pleased that after such an exciting MotoGP season, the championship will be decided at the last race at Valencia this weekend. There have been many highlights throughout this year but ultimately, Marc and Jorge have proven to be the most consistent performers and I expect a large and passionate Spanish crowd will be present to cheer them on as they vie for the championship title.
“This will also be an important week for Bridgestone, as the Valencia Grand Prix sees the introduction of our new specification of hard compound rear slick which we brought into our tire line-up after it was positively received in testing.
“Also, our technical team will be on hand to assist teams in the post-race MotoGP test where not only will teams get to test their 2014-spec machinery, it is also an opportunity for riders moving up to the premier class to try the 1000cc machinery and also sample Bridgestone tires for the first time. One of the important things for us is we need to evaluate the performance of the new ‘open’ class machines like the Honda Production Racer and the Forward Racing Yamaha M1. The data we acquire at the Valencia test gives us a good base to work with for our tyre development program over the winter.”
Shinji Aoki (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Department) says: “The venue of the traditional season finale, Valencia is a low-grip and technically complex circuit with a slow and twisty asymmetric layout. The frequency of corners at this circuit means the tires spend a lot of time at high lean angles and have little chance to cool down over the course of a whole lap.
“The high number of corners and moderate grip level means that if a bike’s setup isn’t optimized at this circuit, it is easy to generate excess tire temperatures. As this race is the last of the season, low ambient and track temperatures are usually encountered, suggesting the use of softer compounds, however harder compounds are needed on the left shoulder of the rear tires because of the temperature generated by the penultimate corner, and turns one, two and three.
“We will debut our new specification hard compound rear slick at Valencia after it was praised by riders in the Misano test, so I am looking forward to seeing it put to good use this weekend.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tire compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)