Almost a month has passed since the previous race but the 2007 MotoGP championship is still in its infancy as round three is held at the impressive Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey this weekend. Bridgestone-shod Casey Stoner holds second place in...
Almost a month has passed since the previous race but the 2007 MotoGP championship is still in its infancy as round three is held at the impressive Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey this weekend. Bridgestone-shod Casey Stoner holds second place in the riders' championship after his Qatar GP win and fine fifth place in Jerez, but Bridgestone is preparing for a tough weekend in Turkey, a venue where its tyres have struggled for grip and durability in the past.
Tyre Talk with Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Department
Testing Restrictions "Unlike the opening two races of the season in Qatar and Jerez, we do not have the benefit of recent testing data from the Istanbul Park which makes the weekend a bit more uncertain. We must rely on data from last year's Turkish GP, as well as the feedback we have received from our teams and riders in the two races of the season so far in order to determine our tyre specifications. We have continued apace with our development plan for this season and we were able to salvage a bit of dry running from the two day test session after Jerez GP which allowed us to evaluate the next generation of tyre compound which we will be introducing in Turkey this weekend."
Previous Turkey Performance "After two encouraging races in Qatar and Jerez during which we were able to show our tyres to be competitive and durable, we now face two strenuous events in Turkey and China where we have struggled in the past. Turkey has only been on the MotoGP calendar since 2005, so the database of information is less than other more established race tracks. Last year was also quite affected by wet weather which increases this deficit yet further. Chris Vermeulen scored a great pole position in the wet qualifying session last year, but the slick tyre performance in the dry race dropped him back to seventh just behind Loris Capirossi, who was the top Bridgestone rider in sixth."
The Weekend Ahead "Istanbul is tough on tyres, so we have developed mainly hard and medium specification tyres for our teams to combat the demand for grip and longevity over the 22 laps. The asphalt surface is smooth and that leaves tyres prone to sliding as they are not aided by immediate grip offered by the circuit. A poor chemistry between the tyre and the track accelerates tyre wear over race distance as the tyres continually fight to grip onto the track. As we saw in last year's Turkish race our tyre performance gradually dropped as the race progressed and this has been one of our focal areas for improvement over the winter. Our development work has combined these past lessons, while utilising the more recent data from the first two races of the new 800cc era, which we hope will show a year-on-year improvement in Bridgestone tyre performance in Turkey."
Riding Perspective with Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen "The Istanbul Park is one of the so-called 'super circuits' that have been built over the last few years, following tracks like China and Malaysia. It is one of my favourite circuits because it is a challenging circuit for riders, engineers and tyre technicians alike and great fun to ride. We have to be careful to set the bike up to cope with a wide, diverse range of technical aspects. We have one of the quickest corners on the calendar on the back straight towards the end of the lap, but then we also have slower corners to deal with. From a tyre perspective, we have to find a good compromise on edge grip because the lower speed corners see at us at high lean angles demanding a lot of grip, while we would normally run harder compounds through the faster sections. The Bridgestone engineers have been looking at a multitude of options to find the most competitive compromise. The tyre restrictions will have a big effect in Turkey because we have not tested there recently, so the selection of our 31 tyres will be more difficult, but we have complete trust in the hard work that Bridgestone has been doing in Japan. I was able to get pole position in the wet last year, my first time using Bridgestone's wet weather tyres and my first time on the Suzuki in wet conditions, and it was awesome. I could not believe how much grip there was, I could get my knee down everywhere, I was totally in control and it was comfortable. Hopefully we will be able to do the same in wet or dry conditions and to improve on the seventh-place we got in last year's race."