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Bridgestone slicks prove consistency and durability

Bridgestone slicks prove consistency and durability

The unusually high track temperature at Le Mans was dealt with comprehensively by the soft and medium slick compounds provided by the official tyre supplier to MotoGP.

With the track temperature peaking at 48ºC during Sunday’s Monster Energy Grand Prix de France race, the softer compound slick tyres provided by Bridgestone managed the conditions perfectly to ensure durability and consistency throughout the 28-lap race.

“The conditions at Le Mans were hotter than we could have expected – the track temperature is normally around 35ºC even when it’s sunny – and more often than not we experience rain. However, even if we had forecast this in advance we wouldn’t have changed our tyre compound selection,” explained Bridgestone Tyre Development Manager, Tohru Ubukata. “Le Mans is a smooth and slippery circuit so requires relatively softer compounds to generate grip, and our soft and medium slick compounds could deal with the increased temperature because of their wider temperature operating range.”

“I can say that I am very pleased with their performance too. Our all-new medium compound asymmetric rear slick proved very consistent throughout the race, and its durability was good as Nicky’s (Hayden) fastest lap came on lap 20 of the 28 lap race which shows he was using his tyres well.”

Bridgestone also laid on asymmetric rear slick tyres for the premier class riders for the first time this season, in a bid to help give extra durability for the French circuit which throws nine right-handers and four lefts at riders.

“Le Mans is a circuit with some heavy braking areas so every rider except Mika (Kallio) favoured the harder option front tyre for its increased stability under braking,” said Ubukata. “However, in the race three riders used the soft rear slick: Aleix (Espargaró), Hiroshi (Aoyama) and Mika. Aleix finished ninth using a soft rear tyre which was a very good performance, and showed that even the soft compound rear had good race-distance durability. In fact, Aleix’s final lap of the race was only 0.3s slower than his fastest lap, so this shows that our soft specification had good performance throughout.”

“We saw the evidence of the wider temperature operating range better than ever in France: from Saturday morning’s free practice to the race the track temperature increased by 23ºC yet even our softest compound rubber had a wide enough range to cope with both conditions which I am very pleased about,” he concluded.


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