With two victories on its tyres in succession at the recent Chinese and French Grands Prix, Bridgestone continues its European tour with MotoGP's much anticipated visit to the Mugello circuit in Italy this weekend. One of the most technically ...
With two victories on its tyres in succession at the recent Chinese and French Grands Prix, Bridgestone continues its European tour with MotoGP's much anticipated visit to the Mugello circuit in Italy this weekend.
One of the most technically demanding race tracks on the MotoGP calendar, Mugello is revered by teams, riders and fans alike. Located in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, the track is one of the longest and fastest of the season, often producing a thrilling racing spectacle for the passionate crowds in attendance.
Bridgestone has never seen a rider on its tyres win at Mugello and, with numerous Italian manufacturers, teams and riders all wanting to fight at the front in their home grand prix this weekend, the pressure to perform will be on.
Of the current crop of MotoGP riders, only two have won in the premier class with Loris Capirossi back in 2000, and Valentino Rossi, who has an unbeaten run in Mugello dating back to 2002. A Bridgestone-shod Ducati rider has scored a podium result each year since 2005 with Loris Capirossi in 2005 and 2006, and Alex Barros taking his Pramac d'Antin to third place in 2007.
Ducati riders have taken pole position for the last two seasons with Sete Gibernau in 2006 and Casey Stoner, using Bridgestone wet weather tyres, in last year's unpredictable rain-hit session, which was his and Bridgestone's first pole of the season.
Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit
"Mugello is a fantastic race track and it is always a pleasure to contribute to such a special event with the hugely passionate Italian crowd. We have never experienced a race win in Mugello, but we hope to rectify this situation this weekend. We have many teams and riders who have their home grand prix this weekend with Ducati, Honda Gresini, Alice, Fiat Yamaha, as well as Italian riders Valentino Rossi, Marco Melandri and Loris Capirossi all wanting to do well in front of their home fans. This will naturally raise the pressure on us to provide competitive tyres, and following improved performances in recent races, I hope we can rise to this challenge."
Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Race Tyre Development
"Mugello provides us with one of the most interesting and exciting technical challenges of the year from a tyre perspective. The lap is very long with a nice blend of fast and slow corners, and a very long main straight, which puts tyres through a very tough test over a full race distance. We have to give riders the rear edge grip required for the corners, as well as a strong front to help them attack all corners, while the central part of the tyre needs to be strong to deal with the long Rettilineo straight. To cope with such a demanding circuit for the tyre, we will bring some new spec tyres, which are specifically tuned for Mugello, and we will bring new rear qualifiers based on the results in the post Le Mans test."
Wet weather affected preparations for the 2007 Italian Grand Prix with only one dry practice session on Friday. Several Bridgestone riders were able to show an encouraging performance in the dry morning hour with John Hopkins and Casey Stoner in the top four. In the wet, Bridgestone riders dominated with Stoner, Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen locking out the top three in the afternoon session. Qualifying was also hit by rain and Stoner dominated on wet tyres taking pole, his and Bridgestone's first of the season, by one second from Vermeulen. Kawasaki's Olivier Jacque was an impressive fourth. In the race, Valentino Rossi scored his sixth consecutive Mugello win, but a strong race performance from Alex Barros scored Pramac d'Antin a surprise podium in third, having started tenth.
Bridgestone's Mugello Race Information Sheet
Bridgestone's latest MotoGP race information sheet will be available for download from the Bridgestone Motorsport media website from Wednesday, containing detailed technical insight into the Mugello circuit from Shinji Aoki and Ducati rider Marco Melandri, a feature on how Bridgestone's MotoGP technology is being used on road bike tyres, and fully updated facts and stats from the season so far. The race info sheets are located within the "Downloads" section of the site.