Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Mugello
Mugello is the venue for round six of the MotoGP championship, and the Italian circuit is a favourite for riders and fans alike due to its picturesque hill-side setting and its fast layout which sees the fire-breathing 1000cc machines reach one of the their fastest top speeds of the season.
The Mugello circuit combines fast and slow corners with one of the longest straights on the MotoGP calendar. This straight is preceded by the constant-radius Bucine corner which hurls the riders down the hill towards turn one at speeds approaching 350km/h. Turn one at San Donato is a low-speed right hander so the braking zone at the end of the straight is the most intense in MotoGP and requires front tires with extremely high levels of stability and safety.
In addition to the heavy acceleration and braking zones, the flowing sections like Casanova-Savelli, Biondetti, and Arrabbiata 1 and 2, require very high levels of grip from the edge and traction area of the tire. With nine right-handed corners compared to just six left-handers, Bridgestone will provides asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulders compared to the left.
For the Ducati and Open-class riders, the rear slick tire options are the soft and medium compounds, while the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders will be offered the medium and hard compound rear slicks. Bridgestone’s front slick tire compounds for the Italian Grand Prix are the soft, medium and hard compounds and will ensure riders have enough options to manage every kind of weather condition that may present itself this weekend. The main wet tire option for the Italian Grand Prix will be the hard compound, although every rider will be able to select the softer compound wet tire if cooler conditions are encountered.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The Italian Grand Prix at Mugello creates a real sense of excitement as it’s a real ‘riders’ track which demands maximum respect due to its fast and twisty layout. It’s a circuit where Jorge has dominated the last few years, and where Valentino also has a very good record, so I’m interested to see if Yamaha will finally be able to halt the winning form of Marc and Honda in the moment. It’s also Ducati’s home circuit, so I hope to see their riders challenging for the podium in front of their legions of fans this weekend. Apart from supporting the teams and riders on Grand Prix weekends, it’s a very busy time for Bridgestone at the moment with many private team tests happening recently, and next week Suzuki will be testing at Phillip Island. All this activity means our team of technicians are traveling all over the globe as we push on one-hundred-percent with our MotoGP tire development program.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport tire Development Department
“Mugello is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and is tough on tires because of this speed, as well as the track temperature that can reach above 50 degrees Celsius. We expect temperatures to be high, with track temperatures reaching above 50°C, but we must always consider that lower temperatures can also occur, particularly in the morning sessions. The track surface is grippy and abrasive and there are significant elevation changes all of which combine to make this circuit quite aggressive on tires. The numerous heavy braking points, especially those that are downhill, demand a strong front tire whilst the many high speed corners require good stability and edge grip from the rear tire. Top speeds here are usually the highest of the season and this puts significant strain on the centre section of the rear tires.”