2014 MotoGP Phillip Island Tire Safety Test
Due to severe tire degradation at last year’s Phillip Island MotoGP, a special tire-safety test was scheduled so Bridgestone can develop safer tires ahead of this year’s round at the Australian circuit.
The degradation occurred due to abrasive surfaces on the repaved circuit. This caused last year’s MotoGP race to have a pit stop for mandatory tire changes, and a shortened Moto2 race.
The three-day tire safety test got underway Monday with only the factory-backed teams – Yamaha Factory Racing (Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo), Repsol Honda (Dani Pedrosa) and Ducati Team (Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow).
Missing from the test was the reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez, who is recovering from a dirt-track training accident. During the wreck, the 21-year-old Spaniard broke his right leg. He is now recovering in hopes of achieving full fitness by the opening round of 2014 MotoGP at Qatar March 23.
Taking the best time Monday was two-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who posted a best lap time of 1:29.213. This was the first time Lorenzo led a session so far during the preseason. He had struggled with tire grip at Sepang II preseason testing, and was pleased to be on top of the time sheets again.
“We started with the ‘standard’ tire that we raced last year, then Bridgestone gave us three new tires and we did two runs with each one,” Lorenzo said. “Finally, the last one was the best one – even better than the standard one. After Sepang I told the press that the tire Bridgestone gave us for 2014 is too hard for everyone – especially for Yamaha – but with normal conditions and normal tarmac there is no problem, as we have seen here (Phillip Island).”
In second place, 0.363 of a second back, was Ducati Team’s Cal Crutchlow. At Friday’s conclusion of Sepang II preseason testing, Ducati confirmed it race its GP14s under the new “Open” class regulations. Crutchlow, though, was 0.4 of a second quicker than teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who finished fifth quickest.
Taking the third fastest time, a half-second slower than his teammate Lorenzo, was nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi. He finished ahead of the sole RC213V pilot, Pedrosa, who was 0.75 of a second behind Lorenzo’s YZR-M1.
All five factory riders put in a total of 369 laps as they stuck to a strict schedule for the Bridgestone crew. MotoGP reports that Monday’s workload included set-up on control tires and short runs on a selection of six different new tires, some with new compounds, and others with new construction. Bridgestone aims to narrow down the selection of tires on Tuesday and Wednesday, with longer runs then being undertaken on the best performing options.
Two Moto2 teams were also at Phillip Island so Dunlop could develop some safer tires – Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 and Marc VDS Racing.
The Moto2 riders had a different approach with nine new Dunlop tire options to test and 10 laps required on each one over the course of Monday and Tuesday. The final day will then be about race distance on the narrowed down selection of rubber.
Despite also feeling under the weather title candidate Tito Rabat topped the Moto2 timesheet, just over 2.3 seconds behind the MotoGP times and putting in 100 laps in total. Rabat’s compatriot Nico Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2) was second and almost a second down on the Marc VDS Racing man, MotoGP says.
With Terol’s teammate Jordi Torres a further seven tenths down in fourth place on the Moto2 timesheet, Rabat’s colleague Mika Kallio was third, MotoGP says.
Finnish rider Kallio suffered a Siberia highside and went for scans on his wrist, but was given the all clear to continue testing Tuesday, MotoGP says.