Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra-hard. Rear: Soft, Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 27-30°C; Track 31-37°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa posted the quickest time on the opening day of the first group test of the 2013 MotoGP season at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.
All twenty-four riders contesting this year’s MotoGP™ championship, along with four test riders – two each from Honda and Yamaha - took to the track today for a total of twenty-eight participants. Torrential rain over the previous two days and a lack of recent activity at the Sepang circuit meant that track conditions for the opening day were challenging, with some riders remarking that the grip level of the circuit were below average. Although the rain didn’t affect today’s proceedings, the overcast condition did limit track temperatures, with a peak of 37°C recorded in the afternoon, which is unusually cool for this circuit, especially in dry conditions.
The mild track temperatures resulted in tyre selection trending towards the softer slick options, with twelve of the twenty-eight riders trying the harder front option and all riders choosing the softer rear options available to them. The cool temperatures also limited evaluation of the experimental slick tyres Bridgestone brought to Sepang to just the CRT teams. All the CRT riders assessed the soft compound rear slick - though only for short stints at this stage – and feedback was generally positive, with a good improvement in rear grip.
After a productive opening day at Sepang, evaluation of the new hard option rear slick for the ‘works’ bikes is planned to take place tomorrow, while CRT times will continue to assess the soft rear slick in what are forecast to be similar weather conditions to today.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department “Following two days of rain which severely affected the CRT ECU test, thankfully today we had fine weather which allowed all the riders to do many laps in dry track conditions. All of the CRT riders tested the softer rear slick which we’ve brought to Sepang for the first time, and their feedback on this specification of tyre was that it offered a good improvement in rear grip. Further testing of this CRT-specific option is scheduled for tomorrow and now that the works teams have had a day to find a base setup, we hope that the weather conditions are warm enough so that we can test the experimental rear slicks featuring our revised hard rubber compounds as well.”