Bridgestone Press Release: Shinji Aoki On Giving Riders More Tire Choices At Motegi

After a disastrous outing at Phillip Island, Bridgestone returned to Motegi better armed to deal with the circumstances. The weather did its best to prevent the race from happening, but Bridgestone's tires handled the circumstances well. In the traditional post-race debrief press release, Shinji Aoki explains how well Bridgestone's tires worked in the wet, and how their strategy of providing more tire choice to the riders, by producing two tire choices they can use, worked well enough at Motegi to have both compounds on the podium. 

Japanese MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Wednesday 30 October 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft & Medium. Rear: Super-soft (Asymmetric) Extra-soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)

Last Sunday, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo won his second consecutive race after taking victory at the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

Poor weather conditions resulted in all Friday practice sessions being cancelled, with the MotoGP™ riders getting their first taste of action in a wet qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Conditions improved for race day, with a dry track greeting riders for the twenty-four lap Japanese Grand Prix.

Q&A with Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

How did the changeable weather conditions at Motegi affect Bridgestone’s weekend at its home race?

“The big difference in track conditions between Saturday and Sunday meant that the tyre data we collected in qualifying couldn’t be applied on race day, but between our slick and wet tyre allocation we were able to manage every situation. The biggest challenge for us was the lack of dry track time, which meant the teams only had fifty minutes to find a race setup and evaluate the different slick options we brought to Motegi, but our engineers worked closely with the teams to help them find their optimal tyre combination for the race. The race pace was very fast considering the lack of track time, and I am certain that if we had just one more dry session earlier in the weekend that we would have seen record race pace at Motegi. In the end though, I am very satisfied with how all our tyres performed over the weekend.”

Lap times in the wet qualifying session were only eight seconds off the pole position record. Can you explain this impressive feat?

“Just like our slicks, our wet tyres are engineered to get the best performance out of the MotoGP machines. The compound technology used in these wet tyres is at the very highest level. We always get comments from riders when they use our wet tyres for the first time that they are amazed at the grip they offer and how hard they can brake, corner and accelerate on a wet track. The very high level of our wet tyres in combination with the high-grip tarmac at Motegi yielded some very quick lap times and the top factory riders were exceeding three hundred kilometres per hour at Motegi, which was only around eight kilometres per hour slower than what they achieved in the dry! This shows just how much performance the Bridgestone wet tyres offer.”

How did the new softer rear slick tyre allocation perform at Motegi and is this something you will maintain for next year’s Japanese Grand Prix?

“The revised rear slick allocation at Motegi, which used options one step softer in our compound range compared to last year, is part of our long-term strategy to promote use of both rear tyre options for the race, and in this regard it was successful. I am certain we will use a similar allocation for next year’s Japanese Grand Prix. All three of our rear slick options were selected in the race, and both rear slick options for works riders figured on the podium. Our new specification hard compound rear slick that received praise from riders at the Misano test in September will be introduced at the next race in Valencia, and I am confident that this will also give the works riders’ two good race options to suit their respective bike setups and race strategies.”

Part of the softer rear tyre allocation for Motegi included the debut of a new Super-soft rear slick for CRT riders. What was the rider reaction to this latest development?

“The new Super-soft rear slick was very popular with the CRT riders with all but one of them selecting it for the race. We developed a Super-soft rubber compound that was used on the left shoulder of this new asymmetric rear slick and rider feedback shows that it delivered very high levels of edge grip, with enough durability to ensure consistent performance over race distance. We will now analyse the data we acquired from this specification to evaluate if this specification can form part of the tyre allocation at other circuits on the calendar in future.”

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