2014 MotoGP Tire Analysis
The official tire supplier to MotoGP – Bridgestone – wrapped up a three-day tire-safety test Wednesday at Phillip Island in Australia.
The objective was to test a range of new rear slick tires to deliver safety, performance and durability for a full race-distance at the Australian Grand Prix, which is scheduled for October.
The problems arrived at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix when severe tire degradation occurred on the repaved surface at Phillip Island. Due to this, MotoGP riders were forced to pit midway through the race to switch tires.
During this week’s test, Bridgestone brought two front and eight rear specifications of slick tires to the test, with six of the rear slick specifications being brand new test tires developed specifically for the Phillip Island circuit.
The following five riders completed a total of 861 laps during the test: Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. Pedrosa’s teammate Marc Marquez is currently sidelined due to breaking his leg during a dirt-track training accident, but the reigning MotoGP Champion will return for the opening round of 2014 MotoGP at Qatar March 23.
The experimental rear slicks featured developments in compound, construction and profile technology in order to find the optimum solution for a circuit that is the toughest on rear tires.
The first day of the test was used for initial testing of all six experimental tires; the second and third days of the test were dedicated to race simulations on the tires that were more found to be more suitable following analysis of tire data and rider feedback.
Out of the six experimental rear slicks provided, three specifications proved to be more promising both in terms of durability, performance, and rider feedback. These three rear slick options were tested extensively over the final two days of the test, and the further positive rider feedback and data analysis acquired on these three options on the final two days means that they will form the basis of tire development for the Australian Grand Prix in October.
The weather at Phillip Island was changeable over the three days, allowing Bridgestone to acquire tyre performance data in a wide variety of conditions. Track temperatures ranged from 22°C to 52°C, and brief periods of rain were recorded on the final day of the test.
The lower ambient and track temperatures on the final day of the test were a welcome change, as they allowed the riders to test the tires in similar conditions to what can be expected for the Australian Grand Prix in October.
Bridgestone now heads to Qatar to support the final MotoGP pre-season test of 2014 at the Losail International Circuit from March 7-9.
Shinji Aoki (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Department) says: “This was a very positive test for Bridgestone as we achieved all our objectives. I would like to thank the riders and teams for all their hard work over the three days, as without them we couldn’t have achieved what we set out to do.
“Our primary focus was to find some suitable rear tire options for this circuit, and out of the six experimental rear slicks we provided for the test, three options yielded some very encouraging results.
“These three rear slick options will now steer development for the race tyres we will provide for October’s Australian Grand Prix and following a successful three days, we are confident of delivering an allocation of tyres that will last the full-race distance while maintaining very high levels of safety and performance.”
Phillip Island MotoGP Tire Test Results (combined lap times):
1. Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing: 1:29.068 – 165 laps
2. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 1:29.381 (-0.313) – 178
3. Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team: 1:29.387 (-0.319) – 136
4. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing: 1:29.516 (-0.448) – 216
5. Cal Crutchlow, Ducati Team: 1:29.576 (-5.08) – 166