Japanese GP: Bridgestone preview

Lords of the Twin Ring Fresh from yet another podium-scoring result at the Australian Grand Prix, Bridgestone Motorsport heads home to Japan to confront the technical challenges of the Twin Ring Motegi for the third and final event of the ...

Lords of the Twin Ring

Fresh from yet another podium-scoring result at the Australian Grand Prix, Bridgestone Motorsport heads home to Japan to confront the technical challenges of the Twin Ring Motegi for the third and final event of the intercontinental race trilogy. The Japanese Grand Prix has been one of success for Bridgestone, whose tyres have helped both Makoto Tamada and Ducati rider Loris Caprossi to victory in recent seasons. The 2006 event comes after Capirossi's recent victory in Brno and second place in Sepang, as well as the excellent podium attained by Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen at his home race on Phillip Island last weekend.

With only three races left in this gruelling season, Bridgestone currently has five of its six riders occupying top twelve positions in the riders' championship and is aiming to boost the accounts yet further with a range of competitive tyres in Motegi. The Tokyo-based tyre manufacturer will hope to tap into the competitiveness from Brno and Sepang by bringing similar specifications and compounds for evaluation in free practice, but will once again try out the latest developments with a range of newer specification tyres. Bridgestone derives a slight logistical advantage by racing nearer to home, one of the few events of the season for which the tyres are not shipped via its German service hub, but the recent demands of the back-to-back races do not permit the company from making the most of this rare luxury. Adding to the home flavour, Bridgestone will welcome two Japanese riders to its existing family as Naoki Matsudo and Kousuke Akiyoshi take part in the Japanese GP as wildcard entries for Kawasaki and Suzuki respectively.

Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Motorcycle Racing Manager "The Japanese Grand Prix is naturally a very important weekend for Bridgestone Corporation as our home race. Our manufacturing facility, which some of our MotoGP riders visited before last year's race, is situated in Tokyo, so over 700 Bridgestone employees and guests will be visiting the Twin Ring Motegi to support our three teams this weekend. Our tyres have a good track record around Motegi and we can be confident of another strong performance, but the win is never guaranteed, so we will not be taking anything for granted.

The circuit's stop-go nature rewards a bike-tyre package that is able to support efficient braking into the corner and enable the rider to get on the power quickly at the exit. The medium lean angle that riders take through the 14 corners coupled with the stop-go nature of the track means that we will be closely monitoring the temperatures in our rear tyres, especially in the central section of the tyre.

"We will bring an assortment of compounds to allow each of our riders to try out a range of tyres in free practice. Some of these will be Brno and Malaysia-spec with some small adjustments, while we will also have newer specifications at our disposal to evaluate. The track is quite tough for riders, but Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki have all performed well in previous years, so we should be in good shape. We have taken victory twice previously, including last year's outstanding performance from Loris and the Ducati team, so we know that a race win is well within our capabilities."

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Naoki Matsudo , Chris Vermeulen , Kousuke Akiyoshi , Phillip Island