Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa won his first Grand Prix of the year at Brno last weekend, breaking the winning streak of his teammate Marc Marquez. For the second race in a row, second and third place went to the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi respectively.
Conditions for the race were cool and dry, with a peak track temperature of 29°C recorded at the start of the race. The conditions yielded a very quick pace around the 5.403 kilometer circuit, with Pedrosa setting a new Circuit Record Lap time of 1’56.027 and the total race time in 2014 being three seconds quicker than the old record.
Q&A with Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle tire Development Department
Brno is not a particularly severe circuit for tires, but one that demands optimal bike setup to make best use of the tires. Overall are you satisfied with the weekend Bridgestone had in the Czech Republic?
“Yes, the biggest challenge for teams at Brno is to ensure they find a setup that gives good cornering performance without compromising good acceleration onto the straight sections. There are many left-right combinations joined by straight sections and to be competitive, you need to have good drive out of the corners. If your setup isn’t optimized for these sections, you can get excessive rear spinning which not only hurts your lap times, but also tire durability. The unsettled conditions meant we had less time than usual for the teams to work on setup, but generally most teams got it right. The race itself was run at a very quick and consistent pace, with a new Circuit Record Lap and total race time record set so I am satisfied with how our tires performed at Brno. ”
FP2 at Brno was the first fully-wet session of the year and was the first chance for the rookie riders to properly evaluate the Bridgestone wet tires. Their reaction was very positive, are you surprised when you hear the rider comments about how different the Bridgestone wet tires are?
“Every rider who tries our MotoGP wet tires for the first time is very impressed at how hard they can brake on corner entry and the lean angles they can achieve. Touching your elbow on the ground while cornering in the dry is one thing, however riders can’t believe this is possible in the wet, but with our tires it is a possibility so this is a new experience for them. There are many differences between a slick and wet tire; apart from the grooved tread pattern the compounds used are much softer, and the construction of the tire is more flexible, but the technology we use in our wet tires is just as advanced as that which we incorporate in our slick tires.
“The overall effect is that our wet tires offer excellent, consistent grip in wet conditions, but also perform well on drying asphalt. The performance of our wet tires is something we are quite proud of.”
There was a MotoGP group test at Brno on Monday. What new tire developments did you offer to the riders for evaluation?
“On Monday the track conditions were very good in comparison to what we had on Sunday, and many riders were able to set better lap times using the same tire combinations they used for the race. We offered our new asymmetric front slick to all riders to evaluate at Brno, and some riders took the opportunity to test these and provide us with feedback. Although the Brno circuit is quite balanced in terms of layout and isn’t a circuit where an asymmetric front slick would be offered, we wanted riders to test the braking stability, as well as the transition while cornering of this new development. Overall the reaction to this tire is that it will work very well at circuits like Phillip Island which have a big difference in the number of right and left corners, so we will be bringing this new front slick to the Phillip Island and Valencia rounds this year as part of our tire allocation, which we feel will improve safety levels for the riders to an even higher level.”