Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Phillip Island, Australia
Australia’s picturesque Phillip Island hosts round sixteen of the 2015 season, with the circuit’s fast, flowing layout and abrasive track surface combining to create one of the most demanding venues for MotoGP tires.
Measuring approximately 4.4 kilometers in length, the Phillip Island circuit has the highest average speed on the calendar and the section through the left-handed turns 11 and 12 generate the highest tire temperatures recorded all season. Adding to the challenge, Phillip Island can experience extremely cool weather and with five right-hand corners compared to seven left-hand corners, the circuit has an unbalanced track layout.
To meet the demands of the Phillip Island circuit, Bridgestone’s tire allocation for the Australian Grand Prix has been developed to provide consistent performance and handling, while withstanding the extreme temperatures and forces the circuit places on tires. The rear slick tires Bridgestone develops for Phillip Island are unique and feature a special construction that isn’t used at any other event on the calendar. The asymmetric front slick provided for the Australian Grand Prix – which will be distinguished by a light blue stripe – is also unique to this event and for this year has been revised to offer better heat retention and braking feel compared to the asymmetric front slick provided at Phillip Island last year.
The rear slick options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the medium and hard compound asymmetric rear slicks, while the Aprilia, Ducati, Suzuki and Open-class riders will get access to the soft and medium compound rear slicks. All asymmetric rear slicks at Phillip Island feature harder rubber on the left shoulder to provide optimum performance through the circuit’s long-radius left hand corners.
The front tire options for Phillip Island are the extra-soft, asymmetric and soft compound front slicks, the allocation ensuring the riders have a wide range of options to manage the variable southern Australian weather.
The main wet tire option for the Australian Grand Prix is the soft compound wet tire, although every rider will also have up to two front and rear wet tires available in the alternative, hard compound.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Phillip Island is a very fast circuit with many sweeping corners and its seaside location is one of the more spectacular locations we visit in the MotoGP World Championship. Although the circuit’s layout and location make it a favorite for riders and fans, the resulting high forces placed on tires and variable weather also make it the most demanding circuit for our MotoGP tires and we relish the technical challenge it offers. Last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix was an exciting race and with the title still on the line, this weekend promises to be another monumental moment in the championship. Both Jorge and Valentino have had good results in the past at this circuit so it will be incredibly interesting to see which one of them comes out on top this weekend.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
“Phillip Island is a fast and flowing circuit which places great demands on tires, with the recent resurfacing making this track even more severe on tires. The last corner is particularly demanding as it involves prolonged throttle openings at extreme lean angles which combine to create the highest rear tire temperature experienced during the season. For this year’s Australian Grand Prix we’ve developed a new asymmetric front slick specifically for this circuit that is composed of our extra-soft and soft rubber compounds. This brand new front tire will improve the braking feel for riders compared to last year’s asymmetric front slick and I am looking forward to see how it performs this weekend.”