British GP: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (asymmetric) For the first time since 1986 motorcycling's premier class returns to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on 20 June. Not only has the circuit not...

Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Medium, Hard.
Rear: Medium, Hard (asymmetric)

For the first time since 1986 motorcycling's premier class returns to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on 20 June. Not only has the circuit not been on the calendar for the past 14 years, the track's layout has been changed for this year too meaning it will be a new challenge for every team and rider on the grid, and for Bridgestone.

Bridgestone's task of tyre compound selection started upon Silverstone's appointment as the host of the British Grand Prix and the completion of construction of the new circuit, and since work has been underway to ensure the best compounds are selected for an exciting race. Compound selection is a decision based mainly upon the layout and speed of the circuit, the abrasiveness of the tarmac, and the expected track temperature and weather conditions.

The new Silverstone Grand Prix circuit has been designed with a fast and flowing layout, leading to the expectation that it will be one of the highest speed circuits on the calendar. Straight line speed stresses the centre section of the tyres, the rears in particular, whereas fast corners clearly stress the tyres' shoulders. Silverstone features eight left-handed corners and ten rights, and so demands more from the right side of the tyres. Asymmetric rear slicks will be used to improve durability on the right shoulder whilst maximising warm-up performance of the left shoulder.

The track itself is reasonably abrasive which generates higher tyre temperature and wear. However, the track temperature in the region is expected to be cool, so for these reasons the medium and hard compound slicks have been chosen.

The wide temperature operating range of Bridgestone's tyres is of great help in selecting the correct two slick tyre compounds for the two new circuits on the calendar this year as this wide range means that the tyres are able to perform well across a broader range of conditions.

Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department

"It is exciting to be going to Silverstone as it will be the first time in the premier class for most of the people in the paddock, including Bridgestone. Being a totally new circuit, it is a tough challenge for us but one that I am looking forward to with confidence. It should level the playing field for all the teams and riders as none have recent experience there. Those who can get to grips with it first will really shine, so I am looking forward to some good racing. Of course, the weather can often play a large part in the British Grand Prix, but it could be especially critical this year because of the limited track time the riders will have in which to learn the circuit and find a good setup."

Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

"I think that even though Silverstone has been modified since last year we have a lot of good track experience from our Formula One activities, and we can use this data to predict the severity of the circuit on our tyres. Our Formula One experience at the circuit helps us enormously with our MotoGP tyre selection, and our engineers have also checked the tarmac just after the new circuit construction was completed to verify this data.

"Silverstone is a fast circuit with some high lateral loads on the tyres, especially through corners such as Maggotts and Becketts, but there are also some areas of heavy braking such as for Stowe which focuses pressure on the centre section of the front tyre.

"This is the first visit for Bridgestone to Silverstone in motorcycling's premier class but, based on the data we have collected on the tarmac's character, expected temperature, the new circuit layout, and our F1 experience, I am confident that we have selected the correct tyre compounds to provide an exciting race."

-source: bridgestone

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