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Bridgestone accelerate tyre development at Losail

Bridgestone accelerate tyre development at Losail

This week’s MotoGP Official Night Test in Qatar saw tyre suppliers Bridgestone working hard to prepare for the start of this season and to further development for 2010 too.

The penultimate preseason test of 2009, at the Losail International Circuit this week, gave Bridgestone a chance to finalise their preparations for the start of this year’s World Championship on the 10th-12th April weekend on the same track, with the Japanese company also using the data gathered to up the pace in their 2010 tyre development programme.

Indeed, due to some unexpected weather, the Qatar test provided an opportunity for the selected soft and medium compound Bridgestone slicks to fully demonstrate their capacity across a wide range of conditions. Despite its desert location, an unusual and heavy downpour on the opening day left areas of the circuit damp and greasy, whilst high winds and a residual layer of sand tested the operating range of the tyres in a diverse set of circumstances.

The first ever World Championship winner on Bridgestone rubber, Casey Stoner, was the fastest rider at the test, whilst last year’s MotoGP title winner Valentino Rossi, who also achieved success with Bridgestone in 2008, was third fastest overall.

Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who ran Michelins in his debut premier class campaign last year, was second quickest on the final timesheet and is beginning to look more comfortable on the new generation Bridgestone tyres with every contact.

Tohru Ubukata, Bridgestone’s Manager of Motorcycle Race Tyre Development, summarised the test, stating, “The feedback from the riders over the three nights was positive in what were challenging conditions. The track was quite dusty and sandy this time, and as a result of the increased abrasion we suffered slight graining with the soft compound tyre at the start of the test, but the medium compound worked well even in these tough conditions.”

He continued, “I am happy about this result as it shows that just two specifications can cover such a range of difficult conditions.”

Making reference to the recent MotoGP rule changes, which have reduced practice and testing during the 2009 season to help teams reduce their costs, Ubukata added, “The recent FIM regulation changes have affected our development plan, so looking now at development for 2010 is very important. We now have to finish 80 per cent of our development for next season during this winter testing period because in-season testing has been significantly reduced.”

“As a result, as well as bringing the soft and medium compound tyres from this year’s line-up, we brought some new compounds in development for 2010, where the target is to give the tyres an even wider still operating range. We have had successful tests both here and at Sepang last month, so we are now in a position to make more precise compound selections for each coming Grand Prix this season.”

MotoGP, 2009

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