Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Motegi
Round fifteen of the 2014 MotoGP season takes place at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, a technical circuit with strong braking and acceleration zones that features an abrasive, high-grip track surface.
Measuring approximately 4.8 kilometers in length, Motegi is characterised by four straights that create numerous heavy braking and acceleration zones. The layout imposes considerable force on the centre of the section of the front and rear tires, so the tire allocation needs to provide high levels of stability under braking, and good rear grip for acceleration. This demand for front-end stability and rear grip is countered by the cool weather conditions that are often encountered at Motegi, which demand good warm-up performance from the tires.
The Twin Ring circuit is comprised of eight right-hand and six left-hand corners, and asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder are provided at this track. The rear tire options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the soft and medium compounds, while the Ducati and Open-class riders will get access to the extra-soft and soft compounds. Front slick tire options at Motegi are the soft, medium and hard compounds.
Rainy periods are often experienced at Motegi and as always Bridgestone will have two compounds of wet tires for the riders to utilize. The main wet tire will be the soft compound to ensure maximum warm-up performance and grip in cooler conditions, while up to two front and rear wet tires in the alternative, hard compound will also be available to every rider.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The Japanese Grand Prix is always of great importance to Bridgestone as not only is it our home race, it is also the scene of many our brightest moments in the sport including being where we secured our first two World Championships; first with Casey in 2007 and then with Valentino in 2008. We could see another World Champion crowned this weekend at Motegi, with Marc poised to win the championship and so this race will be greeted with a great sense of anticipation from the fans. Adding to the excitement is the level of competitiveness throughout the field with Ducati, Honda and Yamaha being so closely matched recently, so there is a lot to look forward to. As always, we will be involved in a lot of off-track activities at Motegi, including the Bridgestone Talk Show where the Japanese fans will have an opportunity to listen first-hand to the MotoGP riders talk about their love for racing. Also, we will have once again hold a charity auction after the race at the Bridgestone stage, and thanks to the support of the teams and riders over the years, we have managed to raise a considerable amount to help the victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. I hope all of our events this weekend enjoy the same success as in previous years.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle tire Development Department
“The Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi is held in October and although temperatures at this time are generally cool which requires us to develop tires which warm up quickly, the track surface is high-grip and abrasive so we need to take a balanced approach to tire development at this circuit. Also, this year the Japanese round is two weeks earlier than last year so we have slightly adjusted our tire allocation compared to 2013. At this circuit we need to provide softer compounds to ensure good warm-up performance, but the stop-and-go layout at Motegi features hard braking and acceleration zones, so the tires also need to provide good stability and durability. Our asymmetric rear slicks at this circuit feature slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder than the left due to the greater number of right-hand corners, but the section of the front and rear tires which are put under the most strain at Motegi is the center section.”