The Italian Grand Prix provided the most variety of the season in terms of riders' rear tyre compound selections for the race. Whilst every rider chose the hard compound front tyre because of the hot conditions and the heavy braking seen at Mugello, seven riders opted for the softer option rear slick and nine for the harder option. This provided a direct comparison between the performance of the two rear tyre specifications, and proved that both could work well in identical conditions this weekend. Dani Pedrosa of the Repsol Honda Team was the runaway winner followed by Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Valentino Rossi was sidelined from the Italian Grand Prix following his crash during free practice on Saturday morning.
Q&A with Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
What can you say about tyre performance after this grand prix?
"Generally I am very happy about two main points. Firstly Dani was able to set a new lap record by half a second using our hard compound rear slick tyre despite the high track temperature. This is the second new lap record set on our tyres from the first four races of this season, which is an achievement I am proud of. Although his best lap came on lap five, he also broke the lap record on only the fourth lap of the race which indicates good performance from the start. The new fastest total race time at this circuit demonstrates good consistency from our tyres over race distance.
"Secondly, during the race we saw that almost half the riders chose to use the softer option rear tyre, our medium compound, which shows their confidence in its performance and durability even at Mugello which is a very tough circuit for tyres because of the heat, the abrasiveness of the tarmac and the top speed, which this weekend reached a high of 345.7km/h. Casey and Marco Melandri were two of the riders to use the softer option rear, and they finished fourth and fifth which proves they were good over race distance. What's more, Casey and Marco were also in a long battle with Randy de Puniet who used a hard rear tyre and all three riders did very similar laptimes throughout."
Why did rear tyre choices differ so much during the race at Mugello?
"Rear tyre choices were varied because of our improved medium compound which has a wider temperature operating range and therefore offers a greater performance overlap with our hard compound. The track temperature during the weekend was high but our two slick tyre compound choices could both cope with the conditions well, so it became a decision based on riding style, machine setup and rider preference.
"Dani, Jorge and Andrea chose the hard compound rear because they could get good grip from it with their individual setups and it gave better stability because the rubber is stiffer. Casey and Marco, for example, chose the softer option rear because it gave more edge grip, and for their styles and setups durability was not a concern even with the high track temperature."