Bridgestone GP Briefing - Round 15: Japan With its technical centre located in Kodaira on the outskirts of Tokyo, the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi is very much a home event for Bridgestone and one with special memories from recent ...
Bridgestone GP Briefing - Round 15: Japan
With its technical centre located in Kodaira on the outskirts of Tokyo, the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi is very much a home event for Bridgestone and one with special memories from recent seasons.
Motegi has heralded some of the tyre manufacturer's most successful results in its short MotoGP history with three wins on Bridgestone tyres in the last three seasons. The company aims to continue this run of race-winning performance in the 2007 Japanese GP this weekend with Bridgestone-shod Ducati rider Casey Stoner leading the riders' championship with an enviable 76 point lead with just 100 points still available in the four remaining events of this season.
Bridgestone will be hoping to use its usual Motegi magic to good effect with all five of its teams this weekend. After a season in which nine of fourteen wins have been taken using its rubber, Bridgestone will be searching on home soil for win number ten with hundreds of corporation employees watching and supporting from the Motegi grandstands.
Suzuki and Kawasaki will celebrate their own home grand prix by fielding wildcard riders. Kousuke Akiyoshi is making his second appearance of the season for Suzuki after taking part in the Spanish GP in Jerez back in March, while Akira Yanagawa will be making a welcome return for Kawasaki. The additional pressure of a home race, coupled with the increasing championship challenge, will undoubtedly spur Bridgestone on this weekend.
Tyre Talk with Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit
Does the home race in Motegi put Bridgestone under greater pressure to supply race-winning tyres?
"Bridgestone is a Japanese corporation, so there is naturally added pressure racing in our home country and in front of the Japanese fans and Bridgestone employees, but it is an enjoyable challenge for us. The last three seasons we have seen Makoto Tamada and Loris Capirossi win on our tyres, but we will give our maximum effort for a fourth Bridgestone-shod Motegi win this weekend. We know it will be a tough challenge, though, especially against our rivals who, in Portugal, proved that they can never be underestimated."
What are the characteristics of the Motegi circuit and what does that mean for the tyres?
"The Motegi track surface is one of the high-grip, abrasive tracks and the layout of the circuits puts quite a focus on braking stability and acceleration out of the slower corners. Riders will need a strong, stiff front tyre for this purpose, which is something that Bridgestone-supported riders have always seemed to benefit from. We conducted some useful tests at Motegi towards the end of August with the Kawasaki and Suzuki teams, who have designated Motegi as their home test track, and the results have formed the basis of our Motegi tyres for this year's race weekend."
What would it mean for Casey Stoner to win the championship in Bridgestone's home GP?
"As the championship gradually reaches its end, the focus is naturally on the title challengers and his third place in Estoril last weekend certainly helped Casey keep a firm grip on the title with a 76 point lead. But again we will treat Motegi as one race out of 18, albeit an important one for Bridgestone as our home event, and we hope that our tyres can help Casey and Ducati, and indeed all five of our teams, get the best out their packages this weekend."
Riding Perspective with Loris Capirossi (Ducati Corse) - Motegi race winner in 2005 and 2006
"I always look forward to the Japanese Grand Prix and Motegi is a circuit at which I have been very successful in recent years. I won the 2005 and 2006 races with Ducati and Bridgestone, so I have very good memories from there. It is quite a stop-go circuit which demands a lot of horsepower from the engine to get good acceleration out of the slow corners. Motegi is a home race for Bridgestone, whose tyres have performed consistently well this season and also at Motegi in the last two seasons. The front tyre especially is put under stress at Motegi but this has traditionally been one of Bridgestone's strengths so I am sure we can have a competitive weekend with the entire package."