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July 08, 2014

Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Sachsenring

LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl with Bridgestone technicians discussing tire performance.
LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl with Bridgestone technicians discussing tire performance.

Round nine of the 2014 MotoGP season takes place at Germany’s Sachsenring; a technical circuit whose combination of abrasive tarmac and fast left-hand turns make it one the most punishing tracks for tires.
 
The Sachsenring circuit is one of the shorter circuits on the MotoGP calendar, measuring just 3.671 kilometres in length. However, with ten left-hand turns compared to just three right-handers, the Sachsenring is extremely punishing on the left shoulder of the tires, and the lack of right-hand turns means superior warm-up performance for the tires is also a key requirement at this circuit.
 
The imbalance in the number of left and right-hand turns at this circuit means asymmetric rear slicks are supplied.  However the large difference in temperatures generated on the shoulders of the tires due to the many successive left-hand corners means the difference in compound hardness between the left and right shoulders of the rear slicks is greater than at other circuits. The rear slick options for the German Grand Prix are the soft and medium compound for the Open-class and Ducati entrants, and the medium and hard compound asymmetric rear slicks for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders.
 
The front slick tire allocation for Sachsenring is the soft, medium and hard compound options to ensure excellent warm-up performance and safety in the case of cool conditions, as well as superior front-end stability. The main wet tire for Sachsenring is the soft compound, however each rider can select up to two front and rear tires of the alternative, hard compound wet tire if they desire.
 
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The German Grand Prix at Sachsenring brings us to the halfway point of what has been an enthralling MotoGP season so far. Marc has been in imperious form having won all races so far, but this hasn’t prevented 2014 being one of the best championships of recent times, with so many exciting battles. Sachsenring is a short circuit but is very demanding on tires due to its abrasive tarmac and unbalanced layout, so in terms of technical development it is one of the more challenging circuits for Bridgestone. The German Grand Prix is always a pleasure for everyone in the paddock as the huge crowd of fans that flock to the circuit every year create an amazing atmosphere.”
 
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle tire Development Department
“Sachsenring is a very demanding circuit for tires as it features long-radius corners where the bikes stay at high lean angles for long periods. In particular, the high-speed left-hand corners that sweep onto the back and main straights generate a lot of temperature in the left shoulder of the rear tire. To meet the demands of this circuit, asymmetric rear slicks with much harder rubber compounds on the left shoulder are provided, while the softer compounds on the right shoulder help retain tire temperature for maximum safety in the slow right-handers. Our front tire options will ensure good warm-up and grip for the cool morning sessions, and maximum front-end stability when the pace quickens. This is a short circuit with a relatively low average speed, but the stress placed on the tires and high abrasion levels means that a good bike setup and a riding style that uses the tires most effectively are crucial to getting a decent result here.”

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