Mugello MotoGP™ - Bridgestone debrief with Shinji Aoki

Friday, 20 July 2012

Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport’s Tyre Development Department Shinji Aoki gives his thoughts on tyre performance at last weekend’s Mugello GP.

Conditions for the race were good with track temperatures reaching a peak of 49°C and for the first time since Qatar, and tyre choice trended towards the harder slicks both front and rear, with only six of the twenty riders selecting the softer rear slick for the race.

Q&A with Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

Bridgestone supplied two different construction options for the harder rear slick at Mugello. Was there a difference in performance between these two options and which was the more popular choice for the race?

"Aside from our regular tyre allocation for Mugello, we decided to supply each rider with four special construction rear slick tyres in the hard compound as a precaution against excessive tyre temperatures. This is the first time we have offered the special construction rear tyre for Mugello, though we do supply it at other circuits like Sachsenring and Phillip Island. In comparison to the regular construction rear slick, some riders reported a slight decrease in edge grip when using the special construction rear slick, but the overall feel of the tyre is very similar and no significant difference in performance was reported. Actually, some riders were able to set quicker lap times on the special construction harder rear slick in comparison to the regular construction option when doing long runs on Friday and Saturday. As track temperatures for the race were slightly lower than they were on Saturday, most of the riders selected the harder compound rear slick in the regular construction, but if track temperatures for the race were warmer, I believe more of the riders on works bikes would have selected the special construction rear slick."

You also offered a softer rear slick option and though this was used widely in qualifying, only six riders selected it for the race. What was the reason for this?

"As we have seen so far this season, conditions have been highly variable over race weekends so our tyre allocation for each race has to cater for a wide range of temperatures and track conditions. For the works bikes, the softer rear slick was a good option for qualifying as the extra grip it provides makes it well suited to a time attack situation, but as temperatures at Mugello this weekend were quite warm – as they usually are – the softer rear slick may not have provided the necessary race durability for the more powerful bikes on the grid. However, had we experienced unexpectedly cool conditions at Mugello, use of the softer rear slick would have been much more widespread. In the end, some of the CRT riders felt comfortable selecting this option as their lower power output and pace compared to the works bikes mean they impose less force on the tyres and can make them last the race distance."

All riders selected the harder front slick for qualifying and the race. What advantages did this option offer over the softer front slick?

"As track temperatures were quite warm at Mugello this weekend, the need for warm-up performance was not so great so the softer compound front slick was hardly used. Instead, the superior durability and stability under braking and in high-speed corners offered by the harder front slick made it the logical choice for riders in qualifying and the race."

Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Soft, Medium, Hard
Rear: Medium, Hard* (Asymmetric)

Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
* The hard compound rear slick tyre was available in both regular and special constructions at Mugello this weekend.

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