Portuguese Grand Prix debrief with Tohru Ubukata Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium, Hard (asymmetric) Jorge Lorenzo won for the second year running at Estoril, this time on Bridgestone tyres. From the...
Portuguese Grand Prix debrief with Tohru Ubukata
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Soft, Medium.
Rear: Medium, Hard (asymmetric)
Jorge Lorenzo won for the second year running at Estoril, this time on Bridgestone tyres. From the first practice session of the weekend on Friday his pace was under the existing lap record, and his total race time was almost 15seconds faster than the previous total time record, set in 2007. Dani Pedrosa set the new lap record during the race to make it the seventh claimed on Bridgestone tyres this season, and the Spaniard's second. Estoril is a tough circuit on tyres and has traditionally been tricky for Bridgestone, but this year the laptimes showed the improved level of performance delivered by the Japanese manufacturer's slick tyres.
Q&A with Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
What can you say about tyre performance after this year's Portuguese Grand Prix?
"The performance of our slick tyres at this circuit was much better than it has been in previous years, and the laptimes show this. The weather was hotter this season than last because the date of the race was changed from April last year to October and this gave the track more grip for sure, but it also tested the durability and consistency of our tyres even more over race distance. Despite this I am happy with the performance of the hard compound rear tyre in particular because it proved both very fast and very consistent during the race. The softer rear tyre worked well in qualifying when the fastest times of the weekend were set, though for the race the hard compound was clearly the favoured choice."
Why do you think some riders chose the softer compound slicks during the race?
"During the first two free practice sessions, all riders tried both the harder and softer front and rear slicks to get a feeling for both specifications of tyre. The harder tyre delivers slightly less outright grip than the softer variant, as hardness of compound is always a trade-off between outright grip and durability. The way a tyre is used has a lot to do with the setup of the bike and the riding style of the rider, so different rider/machine packages use the tyres in different ways and place different demands on them. The riders who chose the softer option slicks were further down the grid on the fourth, fifth and sixth rows. They had a slightly better feeling on the softer options, but also felt that they could use the advantage of the warm-up performance of the softer compounds to gain some places on the opening laps."
How much input does Bridgestone have in deciding the race tyre choice of each rider?
"Of course our engineers work closely with their teams and riders throughout the weekend and are a part of debriefs both during and after sessions, as this is a crucial element of the support role we are playing as the Official Tyre Supplier. Based on the knowledge and experience of our tyres, we can and do advise riders and teams about tyre choices throughout each weekend, and race tyre choice is based on the weekend's work, but ultimately it is the right of the team and the rider to make that decision."