Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Mugello
Mugello is the venue for round five of the 2013 MotoGP season and the first of two races on the Italian peninsula this year. The circuit is both a rider and fan favourite owing to its sinuous layout and picturesque setting.
The Mugello circuit is fast and flowing with one of the longest straights on the MotoGP calendar. This straight is preceded by the horseshoe-shaped Bucine corner which slingshots the riders down the hill towards turn one at speeds approaching 350km/h. Consequently, the braking zone into San Donato is the most vicious in MotoGP and requires front tyres with very high levels of structural stability.
In addition to the stability needed under heavy acceleration and braking, the sweeping sections of Casanova-Savelli and Biondetti, as well as high-speed corners such as Arrabbiata 1 and 2, require very high levels of grip from the edge of the tyre. With nine right-handed corners compared to just six left-handers, Bridgestone will provide asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulders compared to the left.
One of the key performance requirements of the rear slicks developed for Mugello is an ability to withstand very high temperatures for sustained periods. At this circuit, the riders tend to accelerate hard at high lean angles which generates extreme heat, so all the rear slicks Bridgestone will supply this weekend will be in the heat-resistant ‘Special Construction’ specification. This specification of rear slick ensures superior rider safety and consistent grip levels in extreme operating conditions.
Rear slick options for the CRT riders are the soft and medium compound, while the works riders will be offered the medium and hard compound rear slicks. Bridgestone’s front slick tyre compounds for the Italian Grand Prix are devised to ensure maximum braking and cornering stability, while catering to the potential for cool conditions.
Wet conditions are forecast for this weekend and Bridgestone’s main wet tyre for Mugello will be the hard wet tyre, with each rider able to select up to two front and rear tyres in the alternative, soft specification if they desire.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Everyone in the paddock loves coming to Mugello as the circuit is one of the jewels in the crown of MotoGP as it is fast, technically demanding and is situated in a beautiful countryside setting. The circuit is quite demanding on tyres so our development challenge is to provide tyres that ensure enough grip and stability for riders to safely navigate the twisting track, while managing the high temperatures caused by sustained high lean angles and heavy acceleration. While this is an important race on the MotoGP calendar, it is a particularly special event for Ducati as it is their home race, and after their strong showing at Le Mans I am sure the whole team is approaching this weekend full of confidence. The exciting start to the championship has helped deliver healthy crowds, so I hope that this weekend welcomes a large and vibrant crowd at Mugello cheering on its local heroes.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Mugello is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and is tough on tyres due to its technical layout with many high speed corners and the track temperature that often reaches above 50 degrees Celsius. This year’s race will be run earlier in the summer than the last couple of years but excessive track temperatures could still occur. Apart from the high temperatures, the track surface has a high grip level and is abrasive, and there are significant elevation changes which all combine to place significant load on the tyres. The numerous heavy braking points, especially those that are downhill, demand a strong front tyre whilst the many high speed corners require good stability and shoulder grip from the rear tyre. The top speeds reached at Mugello are the highest of the season and this puts significant strain on the centre section of the rear tyres.”