Bridgestone prepare material for slow and fast COTA corners

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The second round of the 2014 MotoGP™ World Championship provides a further unique challenge for Bridgestone as they equip the riders for battle at the 5.5km Circuit of The Americas.

After a successful debut event last year, the championship returns to state-of-the-art track in Austin, Texas with legions of American fans set to be thrilled after an intense season opener at Qatar.

COTA as it is colloquially known, is one of the more technical venues on the calendar. Elevation changes, the longest straight in MotoGP™, and a combination of slow and fast corners makes the circuit a real challenge for the riders and tyres.

The fast, sweeping corners require high levels of edge grip, while drive grip from the centre section of the tyre is also important as there are many hard acceleration zones at this track. The riders approach a top speed of almost 350 km/h down the 1200 metre-long back straight, so excellent front tyre stability is required for the hard braking zone into turn twelve.

Overall, the layout of the Circuit of The Americas places similar loads on both shoulders of the rear tyres, yet the presence of high speed right-hand corners at turns sixteen to eighteen and turn six, means the temperature of the right shoulder of the rear tyre reaches a higher level than the left side, even though there are more left-hand turns. Consequently, asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulders are offered for this circuit.

Open class and Ducati riders will be offered the soft and medium compound asymmetric rear slicks, while the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders can utilise the medium and hard compound rear. With front-end feel important through the faster sections of the track, the front slick options for this circuit – the soft and medium compounds – are selected for the best combination of grip and stability.

Shinji Aoki, Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division, explains, “This year will be our second visit to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas and the impressive layout of this track presents quite a challenge for tyre development. COTA is run in a counter-clockwise direction and the track is technical with a mix of tight, slower corners and faster, more open sections.”

“These features combine to place a great importance on front-end feel, as maintaining good corner speed is important here. Therefore our front tyres need to provide good grip characteristics with plenty of stability. The rear tyres must also provide good drive out of the slower corners. The fast right-hand corners are quite severe on tyres, so at this circuit we provide asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder.”

TAGS Americas

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