Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 14: Aragon
In 2010, the Motorland Aragon circuit in the north-east of Spain was an entirely new challenge for Bridgestone as it held its first premier class motorcycle Grand Prix. This year however, Bridgestone, the teams and the riders all have the benefit of last year’s data to call upon.
The circuit’s surface is relatively smooth and slippery so softer rear tyre compound options have been selected: the soft and medium rear symmetric slicks. Front slick options are more unusual however as the available compounds are medium and extra hard, the same as were offered in Qatar. This is because the location of the circuit can mean that sand can be blown onto the tarmac overnight leading to a higher rate of abrasion particularly of the front tyre as it tends to push more into corners on the slippery sand, just like in Qatar, and the extra hard compound has far greater wear and graining resistance. There are also a number of fast downhill braking zones which demand good front-end stability, and some riders may favour the extra hard compound for the benefit it offers in this area. Additionally this year as per the new regulations, a third option of soft compound front slicks will be provided for cold conditions.
Motorland Aragon has a balanced nature in terms of the demands placed on the right and the left shoulders of the tyres, so for this reason asymmetric rear slicks have not been selected, making the GP one of only four this season where the popular asymmetric rears won’t be used.
Looking closely at last year’s data and rider comments, it has not been necessary to revise tyre compound options for the Aragon GP this year. Based on the circuit analysis and scientific approach to tyre selection last year, Bridgestone are confident that the choices made then are still the best suited to the circuit now. The only difference is the addition of the third soft compound front slick tyre for the cooler conditions, and this could feature more heavily in the morning sessions this weekend than it has done in the past three GPs.
Current championship leader Casey Stoner won the inaugural Aragon GP for Ducati ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden whilst Jorge Lorenzo was fourth. After Lorenzo’s victory in Misano last time out closed the gap in the overall standings, the championship race will intensify as MotoGP embarks upon the last five rounds of the season.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Of course last year Aragon was a totally new circuit to MotoGP but I was very impressed with it and certainly there was a lot of good feedback from everybody in the paddock. I am pleased that we are going back this year as it is an exciting and quite dramatic circuit, and with the benefit of last year’s experience not only is our job easier as we do not need to conduct more scientific analysis of the circuit and its tarmac, but we can also be very confident of our tyre compound choices. As the championship fight gathers pace entering the last period of the season, I hope that we will see more good battles not just for the entertainment of the fans but us inside the paddock too!”
The location of the circuit is at quite a high elevation meaning the weather conditions are cooler so warm-up performance is important. This is the first race since the change in regulations at the Czech Republic GP in which more riders might be using the third soft spec front tyre particularly in the morning sessions.