Bridgestone Press Release: Masao Azuma Talks Tough Weather Conditions At Jerez

Bridgestone's post-race debrief press release after the MotoGP race at Jerez:

Jerez MotoGP debrief with Masao Azuma
Round 2: Spanish MotoGP - Post-race debrief
Circuito de Jerez, Tuesday 1 May 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium.
Bridgestone wet compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative).

Round two of the 2012 MotoGP season produced a thrilling encounter at the Circuito de Jerez with the unsettled weather conditions not dampening the spirits of the huge crowd that gathered to cheer on the first European race of the season.

Reigning MotoGP champion Casey Stoner rode his Repsol Honda RC213V to a first ever victory at the Jerez circuit ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo in second place, while Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was third.

Rain fell throughout the weekend minimising dry-running time and conditions for the race were less than ideal with some damp patches on track following an early afternoon downpour that resulted in the Moto2 race being prematurely ended under a red flag.

Q&A with Masao Azuma - Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

Weather conditions were extremely variable over the race weekend at Jerez. How did the tyre options selected for the race perform in these challenging conditions?

“The intermittent rain that fell over the weekend caused the track to be damp, but not fully wet at times which aren’t ideal conditions for wet tyres. However we have experienced such conditions before at Jerez both during last year’s race and during pre-season testing, so after analysing tyre data we decided for this race to make the hard wet compound the main wet tyre available to riders. The decision to make the main wet tyre the hard compound was validated during Friday practice as the extra durability of this option allowed it to more effectively deal with what were damp track conditions with no standing water.

“The slick tyre options we provided performed very well in the race, with the soft rear slick tyre providing good warm-up performance in the cool conditions while showing consistent grip levels throughout the 27-lap race. Both front slick tyre options used in the race worked well, with the top three riders using the medium compound front slick tyre while the fastest lap of the race was set by a rider utilising the new specification front slick tyre in the hard compound.”

With the wet weather at Jerez, how did the recent change in wet tyre allocation regulations affect tyre choice?

“The change in regulations meant that riders could choose up to two front and two rear wet tyres in an alternative compound which for Jerez was the softer compound. Many riders selected this softer option as part of their allocation, but mainly for use in qualifying if conditions were wet. As qualifying turned out to be dry, the softer spec wet tyre was used by some riders in Sunday warm-up but had the race been wet, it is more likely that riders would have used the hard compound wet tyre for its better durability.

“What was revealed this weekend is that riders appreciate having an extra option of wet tyre as it gives them greater flexibility with their tyre choice when dealing with variable weather conditions and so this new regulation is already proving to be beneficial to riders.”

For the race, most riders chose the new specification front slick tyre in the hard compound, while the rest of the field selected the medium compound. What benefits did one option offer over the other?

“Unfortunately due to the bad weather, riders didn’t have adequate time to test every option of slick tyre offered, though the two front slick tyres chosen by the riders performed well during the race. The medium compound front slick tyre warms-up faster than the harder option and as riders were not sure if light rain would fall during the race, the medium compound slick tyre would deal better with a reduction in track temperature compared to the harder compound.

“The harder option offers rider greater durability and every rider that chose the harder compound option did so in the new specification front tyre that made its first race appearance at Jerez. Those riders who tried the new specification front slick tyre during qualifying claimed it immediately felt better due to the greater feel it offered through the front-end. Some riders who didn’t get the chance to try the new specification front slick tyre during qualifying still selected it for the race as they had previous good experiences with it at the Jerez IRTA test in March. This is very encouraging as it shows that the new front slick tyre fulfills its key technical objectives of providing enhanced rider feel and improved warm-up performance.”


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"Both front slick tyre options used in the race worked well, with the top three riders using the medium compound front slick tyre while the fastest lap of the race was set by a rider utilising the new specification front slick tyre in the hard compound."

So, Stoner, Lorenzo, and Pedrosa all used a medium compound front.
Was it the 'new specification' construction?

Did they talk to Lorenzo about how 'well' that medium front worked?
I recall he wasn't all that happy with it.....

Stoner did run it perfectly but I disagree about Lorenzo's potential to win it and so did he in post race interview. He said that he cooked the front in the last few laps and couldn't push it for the last couple to make a move. In Parc Ferme he bent down to look at his front tyre then shrugged and threw up his arms. Didn't look pissed or beaten but more of a "well, what can I do if the tire's shot?" expression. All the same the outcome is what it is. Was great to see them both in the same video frame through the corners as it was a beautiful example of their differing styles.

Speeddog - At present the new spec '21' bridgestone is only being offered in the hard compound, and in limited numbers (2 sets. I believe until or after Silverstone. Though I'm not sure if the soft and/or medium 21 will be offered before then). It took me reading articles from quite a few sites to fully understand who was on what tyre compound and spec in Jerez. This article here at MM is the most informative (as per usual) and answered that question best.

So those who chose the softer (medium) tyre for Jerez (Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa) were on the older 24 spec. Those who chose the hard front were on the new 21.

Hope that answers your question..

It was the new firmer construction preferred by only the HRC boys in testing and ditched by Bridgestone in favour of the majority favouring softer construction 21 spec.

It's interesting to note that hard tyre preferring Stoner went with the old medium compound, rather than the new 21 spec hard compound. Was this primarily a compound or a construction choice for him I wonder?

I never meant the 24 was old, as in a 2010 tyre or something. Just that it was manufactured first as it was originally the sole intended tyre for 2012.

I get your point though. And calling the 24 an older spec wasn't technically true. However, the fact that the 21 is only available in limited numbers at the moment indicates that the 24 was manufactured somewhat earlier than the 21. Though the the design process of both tyres was probably fairly simultaneous.

Oh, and Stoners choice I believe was purely weather based. HRC chose medium based on the conditions, but I'm sure if there was a medium 24 available he would have taken it.