Bridgestone is hoping to continue its competitive run of form at this weekend's inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix, the second race to be held on American soil this season. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a world renowned racing venue...
Bridgestone is hoping to continue its competitive run of form at this weekend's inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix, the second race to be held on American soil this season.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a world renowned racing venue and has played host to a multitude of four-wheeled events over nearly a century, but this weekend's race opens a new chapter in the circuit's impressive history.
A two-day MotoGP test took place at the Speedway back in July for tyre manufacturers to get to grips with the complex new 16-turn circuit layout and asphalt. The session was open to non- regular GP riders only, so Bridgestone worked alongside Niccolo' Canepa (Ducati), Olivier Jacque (Kawasaki), Ben Spies (Suzuki) and Wataru Yoshikawa (Yamaha) in order to obtain initial data.
It has been less than two months since MotoGP last visited the US. In the two races since Laguna Seca, Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi has taken a maximum fifty points to extend his lead of the championship to 262 points. Ducati's Casey Stoner still retains second in the classification to keep two Bridgestone-shod riders at the head of the championship with five races of the season to go.
Bridgestone will supply a total of 13 riders this weekend with the addition of Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa and Rizla Suzuki wildcard Ben Spies. It will be Spies's third race of the season after replacing Loris Capirossi at Donington and participating as a wildcard at Laguna Seca. For Pedrosa, it will be his first race weekend using Bridgestone tyres after just one day of testing after Misano.
Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit
"We are all excited at going to Indianapolis for what promises to be a fantastic weekend of motorcycle racing. Bridgestone is very well acquainted with the Speedway from our four-wheeled racing activities, including Formula One and the IndyCar Series. We naturally hope that our success at the Speedway on four wheels continues on two wheels with the inaugural Indianapolis MotoGP this weekend. We have enjoyed a lot of success this season, in particular with Valentino and Casey who have taken ten victories between them, but our rivals took a notable step forward in Misano and will be looking to keep up that momentum. We will be supplying tyres to 13 riders this weekend with our 11 regular riders joined by Ben Spies as a wildcard for Suzuki and Dani Pedrosa who will be making his debut race appearance on Bridgestone tyres. It will be a learning curve for everybody but new circuits are always an enjoyable challenge and usually produce interesting and unexpected results."
Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Race Tyre Development
"We were able to get some valuable data from the new Indianapolis MotoGP track from the two-day test that was organised at the start of July. In accordance with the regulations, we could not test with regular GP riders, but we had some talented test riders who gave us good feedback from the track. Actually, it is like three tracks in one with the new MotoGP section from turns 1-4, the old Formula One course, and the traditional Indy course, including the main straight. Because of this, there are different types of asphalt over the lap from very smooth to abrasive, so our tyres will have to cope with all variations. The track is also quite demanding on the front tyre due to some very hard braking points. We have an extra 30 minutes of practice on Friday morning which will certainly be helpful for tyre evaluation and bike set-up purposes, but also for the riders to get up to speed with the new circuit."