Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Motegi, Japan
Round fifteen of the 2015 MotoGP season takes place at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, a technical circuit with strong braking and acceleration zones that features an abrasive, high-grip track surface.
Measuring approximately 4.8 kilometers in length, Motegi is characterized by four straight sections that create numerous heavy braking and acceleration zones. The layout imposes considerable force on the centre section of the front and rear tires, yet overall the circuit is one of the least demanding on rear tires. As a result the rear tire allocation for this circuit includes the extra-soft rear slick, the softest specification in Bridgestone’s tire line-up.
The Twin Ring circuit is comprised of eight right-hand and six left-hand corners, so two of the rear slicks for the Japanese Grand Prix are asymmetric with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder. The rear tire options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the asymmetric soft and symmetric medium rear slicks, while the Aprilia, Ducati, Suzuki and open-class riders get access to the asymmetric extra-soft and soft compound slicks.
The main requirements for the front tire at Motegi are good braking stability and warm-up performance and so the front slick options are the soft, medium and hard compound specifications. As wet weather at this circuit is likely to coincide with cool conditions, the main wet tire for Motegi is the soft compound option to ensure maximum warm-up performance.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The Japanese Grand Prix is the first of three back-to-back races in Asia and Australia; a series of races that may well decide the winner of this year’s MotoGP championship. Jorge and Valentino are closely matched at the moment and we have seen some fantastic battles between them at Motegi in the past, so there is a great sense of anticipation ahead of this weekend. Adding to the sense of occasion for Bridgestone is that this year’s Japanese Grand Prix will be our final ‘home’ race during our current MotoGP tenure. As such, it will be a busy race for us with many of our employees visiting Motegi over the weekend, including Bridgestone Corporation CEO Masaaki Tsuya. We will also be running our regular Motegi activities including the Bridgestone Talk Show where MotoGP riders will talk about the challenge of participating in the highest level of motorsport to a huge crowd of Japanese fans.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
“Ambient temperatures for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi are usually cool which requires us to develop tires which warm up quickly for this race, but the stop-and-go layout of the circuit also is an important consideration in our tire development. This circuit features hard braking and acceleration zones, so the tires must provide good stability while braking, good drive grip to help acceleration out of the corners and high levels of durability. For this year’s Japanese Grand Prix we have changed our rear tire allocation slightly, with the hardest rear option this weekend – the symmetric medium compound rear slick – being softer than last year’s medium rear slick for better cornering performance. The extra-soft rear slick will also be offered to open-class riders at Motegi; the first time this tire has been in our allocation since the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.”