Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Australia
Round sixteen of the 2013 MotoGP season takes place at Australia’s Phillip Island circuit, a circuit whose attractive seaside setting belies its status as one of the cruellest on Bridgestone MotoGP tyres.
At roughly 4.44 kilometers in length, the majority of the Phillip Island circuit is quite easy on tyres, but the final section through the left-handed turns eleven and twelve are taken at high lean angles under continuous throttle opening, resulting in wheel-spin and the generation of extreme temperatures. In fact, Phillip Island’s last corner creates the highest tyre temperature recorded during the entire MotoGP season.
Due to the extreme temperature difference between the left and right shoulders of the rear tyres at Phillip Island, asymmetric rear slicks are a necessity here. The right side of all three rear slick options at Phillip Island feature Bridgestone’s softest rubber, the extra-soft compound, while the left side of the asymmetric slicks feature either the soft, medium or hard rubber compounds. To prevent excessive tyre temperatures, Bridgestone also employs its special heat-resistant construction in all the rear slick options at Phillip Island.
With cool temperatures and the need for maximum edge grip from the front tyres, the two front slick choices for Phillip Island are the softest in Bridgestone’s range; the extra-soft and soft compound options. Wet weather is often encountered at this windswept circuit, with the main wet tyre for the Australian Grand Prix being the soft compound wet tyre.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The Australian Grand Prix is one of the jewels in the MotoGP crown as the fast and flowing Phillip Island circuit is located in a stunning location overlooking the sea. The final two corners at Phillip Island make this circuit the most demanding circuit for MotoGP tyres, and so we have to create very specific tyres to meet the demands of this special venue. The weather always plays its part at Phillip Island and the cold temperatures, strong winds and susceptibility to sudden rain showers also adds to the challenge for the riders. I’m looking forward to an exciting weekend of action and seeing which rider will rise to the occasion and stamp their authority on this race after Casey’s domination at this circuit for the past six years. The last three MotoGP champions were crowned at Phillip Island and there is the possibility of the same thing happening this weekend, which is yet another reason why I am looking forward to this special race.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Phillip Island for the most part is not so tough on tyres due to its flowing nature and generally cool ambient temperatures, but the last corner actually creates the highest rear tyre temperature of the season in the left shoulder and so we have to take a special approach to tyre development here. The last two corners are fast with the riders accelerating at high lean angles, and the stress created in this section alone requires us to provide a heat-resistant construction rear tyre for this race. Cold wet weather is often experienced here so softer compounds are generally required to generate good grip and warm-up performance, particularly on the right shoulders as there are fewer right-hand turns. Phillip Island was resurfaced over the off-season which should make the track surface more consistent and potentially make this very fast circuit even faster.”