2015 MotoGP Silverstone Analysis
Rain played the biggest role at 2015 MotoGP Silverstone, the riders scrambling to switch from Bridgestone slicks to wet tires after rain began during the warm-up lap.
The rain increased as the 20-lap British Grand Prix progressed, and one rider mastered the wet conditions – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi.
The nine-time World Champion was initially challenged by two-time MotoGP reigning champion Marc Marquez, but the Repsol Honda RC213V pilot crashed out, allowing Rossi to ride his Yamaha YZR-M1 unchallenged.
As he chases his 10th world title, Rossi finished 2015 MotoGP Silverstone by over three seconds ahead of Octo Pramac Racing Ducati Desmosedici pilot Danilo Petrucci and 4.1 seconds ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
The race was first declared dry until the rain began on the warm-up lap. Due to all 25 riders hitting the pits to swap to soft-compound rain tires, race control decided to restart the race. This caused much drama, and six riders DNF’d due to crashes in the rain.
Following is some 2015 MotoGP Silverstone technical analysis with Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department:
Q. Last Sunday’s British Grand Prix was the first completely wet race since the 2013 French Grand Prix. As it was the first opportunity in a long time for riders to use rain tires in fully wet conditions, what was the feedback you got from the riders on wet tire performance at Silverstone?
Shinji Aoki says: “Overall the riders were happy with the performance of our wet tires during the race and I think that the fact that it was raining during the Sunday morning Warm Up session was a big bonus. The wet Warm Up session allowed the teams to work on their bike settings for wet conditions which enabled the riders to better manage their tires over race distance.
Another factor which riders often mention is the consistent performance and quality of our BATTLAX MotoGP wet tires, as the familiar feedback they get from our wet tires from one set to the other means that even if has been a long time since they have ridden in the rain, if their bike is set up well it doesn’t take long to get comfortable riding in wet conditions. This consistency is important not just for performance, but also for rider safety.”
Q. All riders selected the soft compound wet tires front and rear for the race. Are you surprised that no riders went for the hard option wet tires to try and gain an advantage at the end of the race?
Shini Aoki says: “It is true that if the towards the end of the race the track begun to dry that perhaps the hard compound wet tires could provide an advantage, but given the cold track temperatures and constant rain the soft compound wet tires were the logical choice. Our experience shows that when it rains at Silverstone it is also very cool and the grip level isn’t as good in wet conditions as some other circuits and this is why we specified the soft wet tires as the main option at this race.
“When the rain started to fall before the race and the riders were in discussion with our engineers on the grid, some riders were asking the question on whether to run the hard compound wet tire but ultimately, all riders followed our recommendation and used the soft wet option front and rear. I believe this was the right decision as when you consider the bumpy nature of the Silverstone tarmac and the cool temperatures we had, having wet tires with the highest amount of grip possible is the safest option.”
Q. The race was wet but for the first two days of the race weekend conditions were dry. What can you say about the performance of Bridgestone’s slick tires at Silverstone this year?
Shinji Aoki says: “Although the wet race on Sunday was exciting to watch, I was somewhat disappointed that we had wet conditions as I wanted to see how our 2015 specification slick tires would have performed over 20 laps at Silverstone. The pace during free practice and qualifying was very quick with many riders able to consistently lap under race record pace and Marc also smashing the Silverstone Circuit Best Lap record during qualifying.
“What we could see during the dry sessions was that all three of our rear slick options were viable race options depending on the track temperature and for the front tyre, the increased bumps in some corners this year meant that the soft compound front slick was the best performing option as it provided good braking and cornering performance with favorable bump absorption.”