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June 25, 2014

Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Assen

Round eight of the 2014 season is one of the true icons of the MotoGP calendar; the Dutch TT at Assen. This 4.542 kilometer circuit features a variety of slow and fast corners which demand a good bike setup and tires with high levels of grip and stability.
 
Although it features many fast sections, Assen is one of the least severe circuits for front tires, but the sequences of right-hand corners such as from Mandeveen to Hoge Heide put significant strain on the right shoulder of the rear tire.
 
Rear tire options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the medium and hard compound rear slicks, while the Ducati and Open-class riders will be able to utilize the soft and medium compound rears. Due to the particular layout of the Assen circuit, the medium and hard rear slicks feature the same hardness of rubber on the right shoulder which has to cope with the brunt of the forces, while still providing high levels of grip. The lesser-used left shoulder of the medium and hard rear options feature varying hardness of rubber to ensure adequate warm-up performance.
 
As the Assen circuit is not overly demanding on the front tire, the three front slick options available to riders are from the softer end of Bridgestone’s compound range; the extra-soft, soft and medium compounds. Assen can be quite challenging in wet conditions due to its different sections of tarmac, so the main wet tire option for this weekend is the soft compound.
 
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The Dutch TT at Assen is the longest-running event on the calendar having formed part of the FIM Motorcycle World Championship’s inaugural season in 1949. Although the layout of the circuit has changed a few times over its history, this event still holds special significance for the fans. The last two races at Mugello and Montmeló have been fantastic to watch and I am sure I’m not the only person hoping to see this exciting streak of races continue! Looking at the recent results at the Dutch TT, the circuit appears to favor Yamaha as they have won seven of the last ten races here, but given the current form of Marc on the Honda, predicting this weekend’s winner is difficult.”
 
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
“Assen is a smooth circuit that features high camber corners, some of which are very fast. This circuit requires asymmetric tires because of the high loads placed on the right shoulder of the rear tires. There are two distinct types of tarmac at Assen which can cause variable grip levels in the wet, making this circuit particularly challenging when it rains. The tires have to cope with a wide range of corners from very slow to high speed which means a good bike setup is crucial to being competitive here. The first few corners are linked as one and gradually tighten, so the tires have to be durable and resistant to overheating, while corners such as Ramshoek are extremely fast and demand supreme grip and stability from the tires.”

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