New to here

Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

Bridgestone ready for “unique challenges” in Qatar

Bridgestone ready for “unique challenges” in Qatar

The official tyre supplier for MotoGP is adopting a different approach to the slick compound selection for the opening race of the season in Qatar this weekend, and harder slick compounds will also be available.

The riders and teams in the premier class will benefit from the hard work put in by MotoGP’s sole official tyre supplier Bridgestone in the lead-up to the new season, when the opening race of the 2010 season takes place in Qatar on Sunday.

Last year at the Losail International Circuit Bridgestone offered soft and medium compounds for the night-time race, but this time the tyre compounds will be harder. There is also a change in the way the front slicks have been selected by Bridgestone: normally they are adjacent compounds from Bridgestone’s range, but for Qatar the medium and extra hard compounds have been chosen.

The reasons for this were explained by Bridgestone Tyre Development Manager, Tohru Ubukata, who stated: “Qatar is the only race of the year to be run at night and in the desert, both of which bring unique challenges. Being run at night under spotlights, the track temperature is around the lowest of the year in dry conditions (around 25ºC) but the desert sand often blows across the circuit, making the slippery surface very abrasive. This makes it very tough for tyres, especially on the right shoulders, as they have to be soft enough to provide grip with the low track temperature but hard enough to resist wear and graining whilst having sufficient strength to cope with the heavy braking points.”

He continued: “Consequently we have adopted a different approach to tyre compound choices this time round, opting to bring the medium and extra hard compound front slick tyres. The medium compound gives good grip in the cool conditions when the track is clean, but when the track gets sandy its character changes dramatically so we need a tyre that is significantly harder to offer suitable durability over a race distance without graining.”

The compounds were used at the final pre-season Test at the track last month, with extremely good feedback from riders and consistently fast lap times, thus making the choice to use them for the race a logical one.

There will also be a change in the way in which the front tyre compound is distributed, with riders making their choice after Free Practice 1. Hiroshi Yamada, Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport Department said: “Every rider will now select the compound split of his final two front tyres after the first free practice session. This will give us some extra work compared to last year but we are happy to do this because it will help rider satisfaction by allowing them to choose more of the front tyre compound that is working better for them at each race.”


Other updates you may be interested in ›