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Trio of ex-riders playing key roles with Bridgestone

Trio of ex-riders playing key roles with Bridgestone

At the second round of the 2008 season in Jerez motogp.com spoke to Bridgestone press officer Chris Hughes about the roles of three ex-World Championship riders working as field engineers for the Japanese firm with their current MotoGP teams.

At the second round of the 2008 season in Jerez motogp.com spoke to Bridgestone press officer Chris Hughes about the roles of three ex-World Championship riders working as field engineers for the Japanese firm with their current MotoGP teams.

A key member of Bridgestone's staff, working with Ducati Marlboro, is the Japanese former 125cc rider Masao Azuma, who participated in the World Championship for eight years commencing in 1996. Azuma stayed with Honda throughout his career, enjoying his best year in 1999 as he took five of his career total of ten GP victories, finishing third in the single cylinder class as a Bridgestone rider himself.

Meanwhile, former 125cc and 250cc Bridgestone competitor Steve Jenkner has this season re-joined the tyre suppliers' ranks, in a role with the Alice Team, the German having spent nine years as rider in the World Championship, before his retirement at the end of 2005. That year witnessed Jenkner undertaking his only season in the 250 class, the previous eight campaigns seeing him compete on 125 machinery, with his career highlight being his 2003 victory at the Assen TT.

In addition to Azuma and Jenkner, Bridgestone also continue to count on the services of Klaus Nohles, who works with San Carlo Honda Gresini. Another German ex-rider, Nohles competed in the 125 and 250 classes between 1997 and 2004, alternating between Honda and Aprilia machinery and enjoying his most successful year in 2000 when he finished 12th in the quarter litre category.

Hughes explained the important roles the three men play, stating, `At Bridgestone we pride ourselves on the relationships with our teams and as part of that we assign a field engineer to each of our teams, so that there is one dedicated engineer from Bridgestone in the box with each of the teams at all times throughout the race weekend.´

He continued, `Within our group of six field engineers, one for each of the six teams we supply tyres to, we have some former GP riders. Each of these riders has a history on the track with Bridgestone tyres. So each of them know exactly what Bridgestone is about, how we develop our tyres and can also bring that riding experience into their new role with the riders in MotoGP.´

On the specific skills of Masao Azuma, Hughes added, `Azuma-san won many races in the late 1990s with Bridgestone tyres. He won ten GPs in total so he brings with him vast experience and success, which he has transferred across in recent years into his role with the Suzuki team for whom he worked previously for us and this year with Ducati.´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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