Bridgestone MotoGP: Sepang Test Debrief Thursday 7 February 2008 With barely time to regroup after last week's test in Australia, Bridgestone Motorsport was back in action at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this week with ...
Bridgestone MotoGP: Sepang Test Debrief
Thursday 7 February 2008
With barely time to regroup after last week's test in Australia, Bridgestone Motorsport was back in action at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this week with three of its teams completing useful work in anticipation of the forthcoming 2008 season, which gets underway in Qatar in precisely one month's time.
After opting to skip the previous test at Phillip Island, the Fiat Yamaha team returned with Valentino Rossi conducting only his third test using Bridgestone tyres. The Italian has quickly adapted to his new rubber and set a quick pace on all three days with impressive performances using race and qualifying tyres. His two quickest times of the week - 2m00.3s on Tuesday and 2m00.472s on Wednesday set using qualifying tyres - were quicker than the existing track record from 2006, 2m00.605s, which Rossi himself holds.
The San Carlo Honda Gresini team continued their relentless pre-season testing campaign with rookie Alex de Angelis and new team rider Shinya Nakano both getting up to speed with their machines and latest specification Bridgestone tyres.
The Kawasaki test team was also busy over the three days with Olivier Jacque and Tamaki Serizawa on machine testing duties. Ducati, who have shown strong pace at the previous two test sessions, Suzuki, Alice and Kawasaki Racing teams were not present in Malaysia this week, in accordance with their testing plans.
Arguably the highest profile pre-season test of the year takes place at the Jerez Circuit in southern Spain next weekend where 2008 season development continues over three days, but with the added spectacle of the qualifying-style Official Practice shoot-out on Sunday 17 February.
Q+A with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
What has Bridgestone been evaluating with Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda Gresini this week?
"Several of our teams who tested in Phillip Island and Sepang over the last few weeks opted not to join this week's second Sepang test, but we have continued to gather useful data with three GP riders Valentino Rossi, Alex de Angelis and Shinya Nakano. We have been able to gather more data for fundamental tyre development but we have also been able to confirm the results from the last Sepang test back in January and to make adjustments accordingly."
Have you been satisfied with the results?
"It has been another trouble-free test with some encouraging times set using our race tyres. Track conditions were not optimum on the first day, but by the end of the test, the track was actually better than the last test in January, which allowed us to try some more meaningful race simulation runs."
Will Bridgestone have anything new to test at next week's Jerez test?
"Jerez test is always the most closely observed pre-season test and we will test with all six teams and eleven GP riders. We approach Jerez with a firm focus on our race trim performance, since it will be an invaluable opportunity to prepare for the Spanish GP at the end of March. We will also continue with our fundamental tyre development for the season, fine-tuning our Sepang and Phillip Island tyres to suit tracks with comparatively cooler track temperatures. In Jerez, all our riders will want to have a chance of winning the car in the Official Practice session, so we will do all we can with our qualifying tyres to help boost their chances."