Bridgestone Press Release: Hirohide Hamashima Explains The Crashes At The Sachsenring

The traditional post-race debrief press release from Bridgestone. In this press release, Bridgestone's assistant director Hirohide Hamashima explains why they believe the crashes happened on Friday morning:

German Grand Prix debrief with Hirohide Hamashima
Round 9: German GP – Post-race debrief
Sachsenring Circuit, Tuesday 19 July 2011

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard

As the rain stayed away until minutes after the chequered flag, when a light shower fell, the German Grand Prix became only the third race of the season at which MotoGP track time has not been interrupted by rain. Conditions started cold on Friday morning but warmed throughout the weekend, leading to a new lap record and a new total race time record being set on Sunday by race-winner Dani Pedrosa in just his second race since returning from injury. The race itself was fantastic with Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner locked in a three-way battle for the lead, ahead of a three-way battle for fourth and a four-way battle for seventh, keeping the 101,309 race-day fans thoroughly entertained.

Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division

What happened on Friday morning?

"There were several crashes in which Valentino, Casey, Dani and Toni all fell. In each instance it was through a right hand corner, and of course with only three rights in a lap it is the right side of the tyres that is lesser used and therefore tends to be cooler. Every crash happened as a result of the rider losing the front end. Turn eleven, where most of the falls occurred, is the first fast right of the lap and is over a blind crest before riders plunge downhill towards turn twelve. This means a few things: because it is the first fast right of the lap, the right side of the tyres hadn't been subject to much residual load by that point so the temperature tends to be lower. It is a fast corner so the riders must commit to it and carry a lot of speed through it, which places sudden load on the front tyre. And finally, because it is over a blind crest, there is a natural tendency for the bike to go light which means as the circuit drops away the load exerted through the tyres is momentarily reduced, reducing contact patch and therefore grip. Plus, the track temperature was cold, and the combination of this contributed to the crashes we saw on Friday morning.

"It is important to point out though that we must select our tyre compound options for the conditions we expect in the race which are often if not always much better. Indeed, in the race our compound options were very well suited and performed very well. After Friday morning there were no repeat instances of the same situation so it is fair to say that the conditions on Friday morning were unique and unfortunate as we never like to see riders crash and make great efforts when developing and testing our tyres to make rider safety paramount."

Softer rear slicks were selected for the German GP this year – what can you say about tyre performance?

"I am very happy with tyre performance in the race because we were able to see that riders could use both specs of front and rear tyres very well and the times and consistency were very good. Dani set a new lap record on the harder front and rear options, first on lap 9 indicating the performance was good from an early stage, and then finally on lap 20 indicating that the performance lasted well over race distance. The consistency from the top three in particular was also very impressive as they set mid-to-low 1m 22s lap after lap from the first flying lap until the chequered flag. This resulted in the top three all recording race times faster than the previous total race time record which is a very good sign of tyre consistency and durability, as well as of course the consistency and talent of the riders.

"Then we could also see that Alvaro used the softer front and rear slicks for the race and was also very consistent and gave a good performance. Racing very closely with Valentino, Nicky and Colin until the finish, all of whom used the harder options, Alvaro had no problems with tyre wear or graining even on a circuit as severe as Sachsenring.

"We have selected softer slicks for many of the remaining races this year and based on the performance of this weekend's revised rear tyre selection, combined with the changes to tyre allocation that we have proposed from Brno onwards, I am satisfied that we are moving in a good direction for warm-up performance and rider feeling."


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I don't think you'll find many people out there who can make better tyres than Bridgestone.

Excellent race performance may not be the way to judge the tyres. Obviously, everyone wants the laptimes to be impressive and I'm sure any rider will always choose the tyre which allows him to go faster.

However, "poorer" tyres may actually be safer and provide better racing. Just a thought (which David-Kropotkin already placed at the head of the site in different words a few days back).

ever since they were forced into providing tyres for the entire grid. 'No good, too good, don't last, don't wear, heat up, cool down'. Damned if they do and damned if they don't.

The riders knew the conditions Friday morning and full well know how the Bridgestone's react. Why stick your neck out on the weekends first practice on a cold green windy track with only three rights? Ride to the conditions. I'm putting these crashes down to rider error.

Something that I am curious about is why in QP, we hardly ever see the riders on Soft fronts as well as soft rears. We generally see them on the soft rear, but I can't recall seeing anyone using the soft front as well to push for a fast lap. Does the soft front have the same performance as the hard but just last for less time? I would have thought the soft would have a better performance for a few laps before dropping off as opposed to the hard which has longevity.

Nostro, I don't ever recall anyone saying the Bridgestones were, No good or don't last. Maybe back in 2004 - 05 when they were starting out, but since 06 when Loris was going fairly well on them and obviously 07 they were awesome. It's a big call to say the 3 of the top 4 riders in the world all made the same mistake at the same corner on the same tyre. With Sic setting the early pace I would have thought he was going through there as fast enough not faster then those three.

Agree with you 100% The riders should have a tire provided for them that they can have some confidence in. Valentino, Casey, Dani and Toni - the riders who crashed - all have at least one world championship under their belts. For all of them to fall at the same part of the circuit points to cold tires as is explained in the Bridgestone press release.
Nostrodamus - I have to disagree with you on this. They only have limited time available for setup - so they are damned if they do go out, and damned if they don't.