Bridgestone MotoGP Race Preview: Motegi, Japan
Round fifteen of the 2012 MotoGP season takes place at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit for one of the most important contests of the year, as the strong Japanese presence in the paddock – including Bridgestone - celebrate their home Grand Prix as the championship battle enters a critical phase.
At approximately 4.8 kilometers in length Motegi is characterised by four straights that create numerous heavy braking and acceleration zones. As a result, the centre section of the tyres at this circuit are placed under considerable stress, requiring the supplied tyres to grant high levels of front stability under braking, and good rear grip for acceleration.
The tarmac at Motegi is quite abrasive and with the race now being run in October, track temperatures are generally quite cool so Bridgestone must develop tyres with good warm-up performance and durability for the Japanese Grand Prix. Tyre compounds for this year remain unchanged with the soft, medium and hard front slicks being offered alongside the asymmetric soft and medium rear slicks. The asymmetric rear slicks feature slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder in response to the greater number of right-hand turns at the Motegi circuit.
The main wet tyre for Motegi will be the soft option to ensure maximum grip levels in the likely cool temperatures, although all riders will be able to select a limited number of the alternative wet tyre, which for this race is the hard option, if required.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Motegi is one of the highlights of the season as the large Japanese contingent in the paddock gets to celebrate its home grand prix and put on a big show for all the local fans. This is certainly the case for Bridgestone and we will be hosting a large number of guests, for many of whom Motegi presents the only chance to see some live MotoGP action. Like every year we will have a large display booth in the public area where we will be hosting a talk show with many riders and this year we are also holding a charity auction to help victims of last year’s Tohoku earthquake, and I look forward to meeting many MotoGP fans there over the weekend.
“Adding to the excitement is that there is still everything to fight for in the championship between Jorge and Dani, and with Casey making a welcome return to the paddock there are many reasons why this weekend should be a great show.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Now that the Japanese Grand Prix takes place in October, the temperatures for the race are generally cool, so warm-up performance is a key consideration for tyre development at the Motegi circuit. The track surface is high-grip and abrasive which combined with the circuit’s heavy braking and acceleration zones, places high loads on the centre section of the tyres.
“The circuit has a stop-and-go layout and features eight right-hand corners compared to six left-handers. Though the circuit doesn’t place significant loads on the either shoulder of the tyre, the greater number of right-hand corners means asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder are provided here. Overall, Motegi is one of the gentler circuits for MotoGP tyres and this is why we have selected softer tyre compounds selected for this race.”