German MotoGP debrief with Shinji Aoki
For the third successive year the German Grand Prix was won by Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez who took a comfortable victory over teammate Dani Pedrosa and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi who crossed the finish line in second and third place respectively.
This year’s German Grand Prix saw Marquez beat all of the circuit records as he set a new Circuit Best Lap record (1’20.336) in qualifying, a new Circuit Record Lap (1'21.530) on lap 10 of the race, while the overall race time (41'01.087) beat the old record by eleven seconds.
Q&A with Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
At this year’s German Grand Prix an asymmetric front slick was made available to riders at Sachsenring for the first time. Was this tire a popular choice and did it perform as you expected it to?
“Recently we have had the riders asking Bridgestone to develop an asymmetric front slick for Sachsenring, so it was a nice technical challenge to deliver what they wanted. This development wasn’t easy as no teams use Sachsenring for private testing, so it involved a lot of simulation work based on our existing data for the circuit and we didn’t have a chance to test this tire at this circuit before offering it to the riders. However, I was confident that the asymmetric front slick we developed would be well received and already in the first free practice session at the German Grand Prix some riders were eager to try it. The asymmetric front slick for Sachsenring featured medium compound rubber for the centre and left sections of the tire, with soft compound rubber on the right shoulder and this ensured good warm-up performance and temperature retention throughout the whole of front tire. It not only increased rider safety but also proved to work well when track temperatures increased, with nineteen of the twenty-five riders selecting the asymmetric front slick for the race. We had a lot of good feedback from this specification of tire so our decision to bring this tire to Sachsenring was definitely justified.”
The tire allocation at the German Grand Prix included four front slick options instead of the regular three options. Why was this change made and do you envisage this occurring at other races this season?
“In previous years we usually offered a hard compound front slick in our German Grand Prix tire allocation as it is a demanding circuit and is quite abrasive. However, analyzing the data from last year we felt that in a regular front tire allocation, the best options this year were the soft compound for cool conditions and the asymmetric and medium front slicks as the ‘main’ options. Due to the very hot conditions in the Saxony region leading up to the race and a weather forecast that showed ambient temperatures ranging from 12°C-27°C over the race weekend, we decided to add a fourth front tire option - the hard compound - into our allocation. The FIM regulations around tire supply state that the tire supplier can change the regular allocation to manage extreme conditions so we operated with that clause in mind. It turned out to be a good decision as on race day track temperatures were the hottest over the whole race weekend and it meant riders had another option available to them. Given the extremely unbalanced layout of Sachsenring and the large variation in weather conditions last weekend, I don’t think we will need to provide four front tire options at other rounds this year as three options is usually more than enough. However, we will always work to ensure that the riders have enough options to manage every riding condition and are grateful to the FIM and the teams for helping us efficiently implement our expanded tire allocation last weekend”
We have seen many new tire specifications from Bridgestone in the first half of the 2015, can we expect development to continue at the same pace in the second half of the MotoGP season?
“Bridgestone is committed to continuing development throughout the 2015 MotoGP season and as a result we will see some new tire developments in the second half of the season. Compared to last year we have changed the rear tire allocation at many races so that in general, our asymmetric rear slicks feature softer compounds than at the corresponding rounds last year. Our asymmetric tires will also feature at Phillip Island – where a brand new asymmetric front tire, different to what we offered there last year has been developed – and also at Valencia. Our rear tire allocation at Phillip Island will also be brand new for this year and will be specific to this circuit only. With these developments I hope that riders not only enjoy greater levels of safety and control, but that the incredibly fast pace we have seen in the first half of the year continues all the way through to Valencia.”