Bridgestone Previews MotoGP at Catalunya Circuit
The Catalunya circuit in Spain is one of the harshest for MotoGP tires. The reasons? A high-average speed, many corners that require high-lean angles for long periods of time, and heavy braking zones.
When combined, these conditions result in extremely high tire temperatures, which equals high tire degradation.
Bridgestone reports that the difference in forces imposed on the opposing shoulders of the rear tire at this circuit is so great that it will provide asymmetric rear slicks with rubber compounds up to two steps harder on the right shoulder compared to the left, this weekend. The front tire has to provide good braking stability for the hard braking zones at the end of the straights, yet also ensure good edge grip through the sweeping corners.
Rear tire options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the medium and hard compound rear slicks, while the Ducati and Open-class riders are allocated the soft and medium compound rears. The front slick options for this weekend are the soft, medium and hard compound. Due to the high tyre severity rating of the Montmeló circuit, the main wet tyre for this weekend will be the hard compound, although the riders can also utilize the soft compound wet tyre in the case of exceptionally cool conditions, Bridgestone reports
Hiroshi Yamada, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department, says “The Catalan Grand Prix at Montmeló is a classic event, and in recent years has proved a stern test for the riders, bikes and tires.
“Last year the track temperature during the race was close to sixty degrees, which created extremely challenging conditions for the riders, at what is one of the fastest venues on the MotoGP calendar. The last race at Mugello was one of the most exciting battles in recent years, and I expect we will see a large crowd present this weekend as fans flock to see the next thrilling chapter in what has been an intriguing season so far.
“There have been some incredible races at the Circuit de Catalunya over the years, such as Valentino and Jorge’s great contest in 2009, and perhaps this weekend we will have another special memory to add to the collection.”
Shinji Aoki, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Department, says “Circuit de Catalunya features many long, sweeping corners where the riders reach high lean angles for long periods of time, particularly in the right-hand corners of which there are eight compared to just five left-hand corners.
“These long-radius corners generate very high tire temperatures and help make this circuit one of the most severe on the calendar for our tires. However, the grip level of the track surface is not that high, so we still need to ensure the tires have good edge grip and braking stability, as well as resistance to overheating.
“Also, many of the left-hand corners are slower than the right-handers, so there is a significant imbalance between tyre temperatures in the right and left shoulders. This necessitates asymmetric tires with rubber that is significantly harder on the right shoulder compared to the left.
“On the Monday after the Grand Prix, we will be supporting the teams taking part in the post-race test, where we will be providing some new slick tire developments for testing. After the test at Montmeló, some teams will head to Aragon for another test so it will be a very busy period!”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tire compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)