The MotoGP™ season finale at Valencia’s Circuito Ricardo Tormo was an exciting contest, with Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo winning his third consecutive race ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez.
In contrast to recent Grands Prix at Valencia, weather conditions on all three days of the race weekend were fine and dry, with track temperatures in the afternoon sessions of around 30°C. The fine weather conditions and a revised tyre allocation from Bridgestone resulted in the pace at Valencia being extremely quick, with new qualifying and race lap records being set, and the overall race time bettering the old record by over thirty seconds.
Q&A with Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department:
Can you summarise Bridgestone’s weekend at the season finale at Valencia? “Valencia was a good weekend for us. Our tyre allocation included a new hard compound rear slick which riders got to try in a race situation for the first time, and the feedback we got from riders over the weekend shows that our the compound choices we offered worked perfectly.
Our goal of achieving more varied race tyre choice was successful as all slick tyre choices were utilised during the race and new qualifying and lap records were set. All of these factors mean that we ended the year on a high note. Our work at Valencia has only just started though; we now have the post-season test where we will provide tyres and engineering staff as teams’ kick-start their 2014 campaigns.”
The Valencia race weekend was the first time Bridgestone’s new specification hard compound rear slick was offered to riders. How did it perform? “We were very confident that this new specification of rear slick would work well at Valencia, as we got very good feedback from riders when we tested this development at Misano in September. The increased edge grip on this new hard specification rear slick makes it a more appealing option for riders and a gives them two good options for the race.
This new hard option was used extensively by riders in the practice sessions and on race day, most works riders including the top four race finishers used this option. The quickest lap of the race was set on lap twenty-two and the pace was quite constant throughout, and the riders commented predictable behaviour over the thirty-lap race. So it was a successful race debut for this new slick tyre and this specification will be included in our race tyre allocations for 2014.”
What is the main focus for Bridgestone at the Valencia post-season test that started today? “All our technical staff are in Valencia to support teams as they start working on their 2014-specification machinery. These tests always provide us with valuable data which helps steer the direction of our winter tyre development programme, as well as the Sepang tests next year. Of particular interest for this test is acquiring data from the new open-class machines from Honda and Yamaha so we can determine how demanding they are on tyres compared to the works machines.”
Will Bridgestone offer a special soft rear slick option for the open-class machines in 2014, like that which was offered to CRT riders this year? “It is too early to say if we will offer a softer rear slick to the open-class machines as we need to acquire tyre performance data on these bikes. There will be open-class machines that are very close in performance to the works machines, such as the Forward Racing and Aspar bikes, and other bikes that may be closer in performance to this year's CRT machines. No decision has been made on the tyre allocation, once we have data we will be able to make an informed decision on the tyre allocation for the different specifications of 2014 machinery.”