Bridgestone MotoGP™ Race Preview - Assen

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Round seven of the 2012 MotoGP™ World Championship, the Dutch TT takes place at the historic Assen circuit, which despite having one of the shortest straights of any circuit in the series, has the second fastest average speed.

Assen is not particularly demanding for front tyres even though grip levels on the circuit are quite variable following a partial resurfacing in 2006, so the soft and medium compounds are offered to provide better grip and warm-up performance. The rear tyres are put under comparatively more stress and in particular, the sequence of right-handers from Mandeveen to Hoge Heide generates significant load on the right shoulder of the rear tyre.

Although cool track conditions are common at Assen, warmer temperatures are not unheard of. For example in 2010, the track temperature during the race reached 47°C compared to a peak of just 18°C in 2011 and this potential for large variations in track temperature makes developing tyres for Assen a challenge and emphasises the importance of the wider operating temperature range engineered into the 2012 specification MotoGP™ tyres.

To meet this challenge, Bridgestone has revised the compounds in its asymmetric rear slicks for Assen with last year’s medium and hard options being replaced with the medium-soft and medium options. These new rear slicks feature either the extra-soft or soft rubber on the left shoulder combined with the medium compound rubber on the right shoulder to keep the tyre in its optimal temperature range and to provide greater edge grip from the first lap.

Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department

"The Dutch TT is one of the highlights of the MotoGP season and the fast layout of the Assen circuit requires maximum commitment from racers. This weekend marks the start of a very busy time for the paddock and over the next few weeks fans will be treated to back-to-back races at three amazing venues. It is always hard to predict what the weather will do at Assen, but I am confident that our revised tyre selection for this race weekend is well matched to the demands of this technical circuit.

"Jorge is looking strong at the moment after his three successive wins, but Casey, Dani and Ben, who had a fantastic victory here last year, will be very motivated to end his winning streak and so I believe another intense contest will take place on Saturday. I hope that both Cal and Karel are making progress in recovering from their injuries and I look forward to seeing them back in action soon."

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

"Assen is one of the faster circuits on the calendar and requires asymmetric rear tyres because of the high loads placed on the right shoulder of the rear tyre in the fast right-hand corners. Following some alterations made to the circuit in 2006 there are two distinct types of tarmac: the new part is slippery whilst the old is abrasive, which creates variable grip levels and makes it particularly tricky for riders in the wet.

"In a similar development to Silverstone, to address the generally cool temperatures encountered at Assen we have changed the selection of asymmetric rear tyres for this weekend to the medium-soft and medium compounds. As the tyres at this circuit have to cope with a wide range of corners from very slow to high speed, shoulder grip is crucial hence us selecting rubber compounds that are relatively softer than at other circuits."

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

Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)

Press release courtesy of Bridgestone.

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