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Yamada rules out 16" Bridgestone tyre

Yamada rules out 16' Bridgestone tyre

Hiroshi Yamada, Bridgestone's Motorcycle Racing Manager, has put an end to the speculation that the manufacturer would be providing a new 16" tyre for their teams this season. There had been rumours abound that a smaller tyre than the usual 16.5" to match the more compact frame of the 800cc bikes but, whilst Yamada acknowledged that the matter merited examination, dismissed the possibility of Bridgestone changing tyre size this season.

Hiroshi Yamada, Bridgestone's Motorcycle Racing Manager, has put an end to the speculation that the manufacturer would be providing a new 16" tyre for their teams this season. There had been rumours abound that a smaller tyre than the usual 16.5" to match the more compact frame of the 800cc bikes but, whilst Yamada acknowledged that the matter merited examination, dismissed the possibility of Bridgestone changing tyre size this season.

"We do not intend to produce 16-inch front tyres for the coming season. We have previously evaluated the possibility of introducing a smaller front tyre, but concluded that the 16.5-inch offers the best performance for our teams, even with the introduction of the 800cc bikes for 2007," he commented in his customary post-test debrief.

Bridgestone had a particularly successful test at Phillip Island collaborating with Ducati, and the company had specifically focused on the rear tyres in Australia. "The program for this week's test was to continue development of our new rear tyres for the 800cc bikes, as well as to work specifically for the Australian GP later in the year. Phillip Island is a technical circuit and quite hard on tyres because we experience higher tyre temperatures than on any other track during the season. We do not get so many opportunities to test at Phillip Island so we must capitalise on our trip every time," he said, noting that Bridgestone brought over 1,100 tyres to the test, including some of the new rear constructions.

Fast laps at Phillip Island come as a welcome relief after a disappointing qualifying performance last season at the track. Although temperature change goes some way to explaining the anomaly, Yamada also detailed some of the reasons for the improvement.

"The major issue which we encountered in last year's Australian GP qualifying was that our one-lap tyres did not retain sufficient grip levels for the entire lap. This forced our riders to conserve their tyre by backing off in less critical sections of the lap in order to keep the grip for the all-important final corner. One of our priorities for this week was to look deeper into this problem. As a general guideline, we expect around one second per lap improvement from race tyre to qualifying tyre, but we are still only seeing 0.5s gain around Phillip Island. We took several qualifying tyres this week and we got some extremely valuable feedback from our teams to resolve the problem for this year's GP."

I am not concerned at all by any of the results this year, in fact I have been pleasantly surprised by the performance of our tyres in Sepang and Phillip Island. We have been able to use this week's Australian test to verify initial results from Sepang as we begin to finalise the direction for tyre development for the coming season. We do not conduct tyre tests with our teams assuming that everything is going to yield positive results. Sometimes we can make even more progress by seeing something that does not work as well, so we are grateful for the support our teams give us during this crucial test phase. We have two more teams for this season so we are able to obtain more test data and we hope this will allow us to be more consistently competitive during the season than ever before."

With the equal machinery of the 800cc bikes at this early stage, tyres could be the crucial deciding factor between teams. Bridgestone supply their wares to five teams on the MotoGP grid, and the intention will be not to show favouritism to individual outfits in 2007.

"We pride ourselves on providing tyres to each of our teams fairly at all times. A tyre that works well on one bike may not work as well on another so we tailor our service to each team and also to each rider. Data that has been acquired over these winter tests has allowed us to identify areas for individual improvement within each team, whether tuning the tyres to work better with the bike set-up or with the riding style," concluded Yamada.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007

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