Chinese GP: Bridgestone preview

The 2007 MotoGP championship continues its eastward momentum as the Shanghai International Circuit plays host to the third Chinese Grand Prix this weekend. After a dominant performance at the last race in Turkey, where it scored an historic maiden...

The 2007 MotoGP championship continues its eastward momentum as the Shanghai International Circuit plays host to the third Chinese Grand Prix this weekend. After a dominant performance at the last race in Turkey, where it scored an historic maiden 1-2-3, Bridgestone heads to China in positive, but realistic mood, knowing that the Shanghai circuit will present its range of tyres with another tough technical challenge.

John Hopkins finished last year's race as the top Bridgestone-shod rider, the Anglo-American converting an excellent second-place grid position into a fourth-place race result, his joint best of the season (with Catalunya). In 2005, the inaugural Chinese MotoGP event, Kawasaki rider Olivier Jacque marked his debut on Bridgestone tyres with a stunning second place in wet conditions.

Tyre Talk with Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Department

From Istanbul to Shanghai

"We are not getting carried away with the performance of our tyres in Turkey two weeks' ago. We were very pleased with the competitiveness and durability of our tyres at a track that has previously been difficult for us, but China will present us with renewed challenges. Similar to Turkey, the track is quite a recent addition to the MotoGP calendar but the technicalities are quite different, so we require a different approach to tyre development. As we have seen in previous years, the climate in China can also be quite variable so we will bring a wider range of specifications this weekend to cater for any eventuality."

Getting China in Hand

"There are two very long straights at Shanghai, one of which is the longest and fastest straight on the calendar at 1.2km long. This naturally places a lot of importance on the strength of the engine, but the resultant heavy braking at the end of the back and main straight also places significant demands on the central part of the tyre. The slower corners also require a lot of edge grip from both right and left hand sides of the tyre, although the right-hand side is put under slightly more pressure, especially through the slow and twisty first corners."

Compound Considerations

"We introduced a new generation of compound in Turkey which were designed to cope with the low-grip nature of the Istanbul Park track. The selection of soft, medium and hard specification tyres that we are bringing to China have been based on this new generation compound, specifically in an effort to combat the grip and consistency problems that we faced in Shanghai in the last two years. China will pose a different set of circumstances than in Istanbul two weeks ago, but we hope our range of tyres will show a similar year-on-year increase in performance."

Riding Perspective with Kawasaki's Olivier Jacque

"Shanghai circuit is really impressive and I have fantastic memories here. It is a stop and go track where top speed is really important with its two long straights, one being the longest on the calendar with more than a kilometre. We arrive at the end with high speed and are really hard on the brakes to get in the 12th corner. This is the highest deceleration of the championship having to restart again from about 40 or 50 km/h. The first and the last sections are really challenging for the tyres due to the hard acceleration and braking. I have only been in Shanghai once, in 2005, and not even in my dreams I would have imagined achieving such a good result! Practice sessions were on dry conditions but the rain put in an appearance for the race. This was good news for me as I hadn't ridden for a year. We all started from zero under those conditions and wet races are less physical. During the race I felt like I had never stopped racing and got along really good with the bike and the tyres. It was my first time with the Bridgestone tyres and I was pleasantly surprised of the grip and the confidence that they transmitted on the braking area. Nobody has tested in Shanghai this year and we don't know what to expect here but after the experience in Istanbul, where the Bridgestone tyres performed so well, I am really optimistic and looking forward to this weekend's race."

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Olivier Jacque