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Bridgestone assess Sepang Test

Bridgestone assess Sepang Test

With the pressure of following their most successful season in MotoGP, tyre manufacturer Bridgestone have been hard at work with both their existing riders and some new arrivals for 2008.

With the pressure of following their most successful season in MotoGP, tyre manufacturer Bridgestone have been hard at work with both their existing riders and some new arrivals for 2008. The Japanese company did not stop work over the winter break, despite the lack of on-track activity, as Motorcycle Race Tyre Manager Tohru Ubukata explains.

Since the last test of 2007, which was in Jerez back in November, we have carefully analysed all of our work from last season, as well as the results from post-season testing, to find a competitive step ahead in all areas for this season. Specifically, we have been looking at further improvements to the overall grip of our front and rear race tyres and improving the consistency of our tyres year-on-year. Another important area has been improving our qualifying tyre performance, something that we struggled with during 2007.

The first test of 2008 saw the majority of Bridgestone riders attempting a race simulation and smaller qualifying tyre runs. Ubukata revealed the extensive nature of the work undertaken at an opportunity to try new compounds free from restrictions.

Our target this week has been to extensively evaluate a wide range of compounds, constructions and shapes which will form the basis of our 2008 campaign. We bought around 1,000 tyres to test and we have carried out a lot of detailed work in order to determine the best direction for further development. We also tried some new qualifying tyres but we are still looking for the necessary improvement to close the gap to our rivals. We now understand what is required in this area and we have some good information, which is a very positive point from this weeks test.

We will continue in Phillip Island where we left off in Sepang, so that we can best prepare ourselves for the IRTA test in Jerez in mid February. We have more work to do on our compound, construction and shape evaluation at a technically complicated and high-speed circuit such as Phillip Island. Our teams will also continue development of their new machines so that we can work in parallel to harmonise the bike-tyre package.

Whilst happy with initial results in Sepang, Ubukata is under no illusions that nothing can be entirely assessed on the basis of a single outing.

It is never easy nor really accurate to draw conclusions after one test, but the results do give some early indications that the MotoGP field is very competitive already. The competition looks set to be very tough this season, so we are not taking anything as guaranteed. From a tyre point of view, we expect a big effort from our very experienced rivals, but we are working hard to find the best direction for our season development to give our teams the most competitive tyres at all times.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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