Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Catalunya
Round six of the 2013 MotoGP season sees the series return to Spain for the Catalan Grand Prix, and the venue for this weekend’s race presents the toughest test for Bridgestone’s tyres so far this year.
The Circuit de Catalunya is a fast and flowing circuit and due to its many right-hand corners taken at high speed and large lean angles, it places greater stress on the right shoulder of the rear tyre than any other course on the calendar.
Such is the disparity in forces placed on the right and left shoulders of the rear tyres that for this circuit, Bridgestone provides asymmetric rear slicks with rubber compounds up to two steps harder on the right shoulder than on the left. At the front end of the bike, the numerous hard braking zones require a tyre with good braking stability, though high edge grip is also a priority for the long sweeping corners.
Rear tyre compounds for CRT riders at the Catalan Grand Prix are the soft and medium options, while for the works riders, the medium and hard options are available. Although there are particular sections of the circuit that really punish the rear tyres, there’s ample time between the twisty sections for the tyres to dissipate the excessive heat. Therefore Bridgestone has supplied rear slicks in the heat-resistant construction only for the softest, CRT-specific option, as this option uses very soft rubber and the special construction will prevent the tyre from reaching temperatures outside of its normal operating zone. Front tyre options for the Catalan Grand Prix are the medium and hard compounds, as these slick options provide the greatest level of cornering stability.
Due to the general harshness of the Montmeló circuit, the main wet tyre for this race weekend will be the hard compound.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“We have seen many wonderful races at Montmeló over the years and with the three Spanish riders currently leading the championship standings, the stage is set for another pivotal contest on Sunday. Jorge’s victory at Mugello has made things quite tight at the top of the riders table, and with so many riders in good form at the moment it really is hard to say who will come out on top this weekend. This circuit is extremely demanding on rear tyres in parts, but the layout of the circuit gives the tyres enough reprieve away from the corners that there is no need to use our heat-resistant construction in all our rear slicks at this race. Bridgestone has a big activities program in place this weekend as the Catalan Grand Prix is a big event on the calendar for our Spanish and French markets, so it will be quite busy for us both on and off the track.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Montmeló is a fast circuit that generates higher temperature in the right shoulder of the tyres than the left because of its greater number of right-handed turns. The track surface itself isn’t the grippiest on the calendar, but the many high-speed corners mean the riders spend a lot of times at high lean angles. There are eight right-hand corners, most of which are long and fast, and only five left-handers, most of which are much slower so there is a significant imbalance between tyre temperatures in the right and left shoulders, necessitating asymmetric tyres. High track temperatures are often encountered here and overall, the Catalan Grand Prix is one of the toughest events of the season for the rear tyres.”