Bridgestone MotoGP Race Preview - Round 2: Jerez, Spain
After a thrilling season opener at Qatar, MotoGP heads to the Jerez circuit in southern Spain where huge crowds are expected as Europe gets its first taste of MotoGP action in 2012.
Jerez is a popular circuit among fans and riders and its balance of left and right-handed, as well as slow and fast turns, makes it technically demanding for riders. From a tyre standpoint, the layout of the circuit puts equal demands on both the left and right shoulders of the tyre and so there is no need for an asymmetric rear tyre. Track temperatures at Jerez for this time of year are usually around the 40°C mark, though rain at last year’s race and in pre-season testing earlier this year are proof that wet conditions are a possibility for the race.
Bridgestone will introduce its new front specification tyre with a revised construction at Jerez, with two pieces being made available to each rider for the race weekend. The new specification tyre will only be made available in the harder compound as the greater durability this option provides makes it better suited for race use.
Recent history shows that the Jerez circuit suits local riders, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo winning the past two races at the venue, while Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa won in 2007. A first ever win at Jerez will be on the agenda for Casey Stoner on the other Repsol Honda, while Valentino Rossi’s affinity with the Jerez circuit where he has won five times previously will provide extra impetus for the Ducati team as they fight for the podium.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“After the excitement we had in Qatar I anticipate more close racing at Jerez as this circuit has produced several good contests over the years and many riders are in good form at the moment. Jerez is a very important occasion for Bridgestone as not only is it the first time our new specification front tyre is available to riders at a race weekend, it also sees the new wet tyre allocation regulation come into effect.
“After analysing wet tyre performance at last year’s race and pre-season testing in Jerez and ongoing discussion with the Safety Commission, we have decided to change the allocated wet compound for the Jerez race from soft to hard. However, with the new regulation in place if after the first wet practice there is a consensus among riders that the conditions warrant a different wet tyre compound, Bridgestone, following consultation with the Race Director can make an alternative wet tyre compound available. This change in wet tyre allocation is yet another example of how Bridgestone is working closely with Dorna and the FIM to improve rider safety.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Jerez is a technical circuit with a mix of fast and slow corners as well as some elevation changes and the diversity of the corner layout means a tyre with a balanced character is required to provide good handling in both the low and high speed sections. Jerez has an almost even distribution of right and left-hand corners so we will supply symmetrical rear tyres in the soft and medium compound options.
“Though the track temperature during the race weekend at Jerez is historically high, conditions can be quite variable as evidenced at last year’s race and during pre-season testing this year when rain fell. In addition to the regular front tyre compound choices of medium and hard for Jerez, we are also making a soft front option available this year in case there are unusually cool conditions. The race at Jerez will also be the race debut for our new specification front tyre and each rider will be provided with two pieces of the new front tyre in the harder compound option.”