Bridgestone MotoGP race preview: Mugello, Italy
This weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at the fast and flowing Mugello circuit marks the end of an intense three weeks for the MotoGP World Championship as well as the halfway point of the 2012 season.
The sinuous layout of Mugello is particularly demanding because of its high speeds, heavy braking and large elevation changes that require tyres with good edge grip, braking and cornering stability, as well as high levels of durability.
With nine right-handed corners and six lefts, the left shoulders of the asymmetric rear tyres are slightly softer than the right side to offer riders improved warm-up performance and grip on the lesser-used side of the tyres. In similar fashion to other circuits with high straight-line speeds such as Catalunya and Sepang, the Mugello circuit places significant loads on the centre section of the tyres under both acceleration and braking.
With this requirement for cornering and braking stability, the front tyre allocation for Mugello includes the medium and hard compounds, while the asymmetric rear slicks will be available in the medium and hard configuration to provide the necessary levels of grip and durability. To ensure maximum rider safety at Mugello, in addition to their regular allocation of ten rear slick tyres, each rider will be supplied with four special construction rear tyres which are specifically developed to withstand exceptionally high tyre temperatures. These extra four rear slick tyres will be supplied in the hard compound.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“As it is the home race for Ducati and the many Italian riders in the championship, the Italian Grand Prix is one of the most anticipated races of the year. The Mugello circuit itself is truly iconic and features sections like Casanova-Savelli and Arrabbiata 1 and 2 that are a thrill to behold for racers and spectators alike.
“The Italian Grand Prix also marks the halfway mark of the season and after Dani’s win at Sachsenring last weekend, the championship is very open and with three different winners at the last three races, this weekend’s result is difficult to predict. There will be a post-race test at Mugello on Monday and as always, our engineers will be on hand to support the teams and riders at this event.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Mugello is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and is tough on tyres because of the high speeds, elevated track temperatures, and its technical layout that features many sweeping corners. The tarmac at Mugello is quite grippy and abrasive though and requires very good levels of edge grip and as well as the fast corners, the changes in elevation and bumps in some braking zones add to the challenge.
“Our tyre compounds for Mugello remain unchanged from last year, with our front tyre selection being the soft, medium and hard compounds which will give riders a choice for every kind of track condition and provide good stability in corners and under hard braking. The two asymmetric rear slick choices for Mugello, the medium and hard options, feature slightly softer rubber on the left shoulder compared to the right to give more desirable grip characteristics in the lesser used left-hand corners, in particular Bucine where getting good drive onto the main straight is very important.”