Portuguese GP: Bridgestone preview

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium, Hard (both asymmetric) After the recent overseas trio of races, the Portuguese Grand Prix represents the first half of the final back-to-back pairing of the 2010 season....

Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Soft, Medium.
Rear: Medium, Hard (both asymmetric)

After the recent overseas trio of races, the Portuguese Grand Prix represents the first half of the final back-to-back pairing of the 2010 season. The Riders' and Teams' championships have been clinched, by Jorge Lorenzo and the Fiat Yamaha Team, but the Constructors' title is still up for grabs, as is second position in the riders' championship.

The Estoril circuit is one of the most technically challenging races on the calendar for Bridgestone's tyres. It has a very varied layout and nature with a multitude of different corner characteristics, corner loads and surfaces and so a well-balanced setup is important to allow the tyres to perform consistently throughout a lap.

Top speed is high along the main straight with the bikes reaching over 325km/h before braking heavily into turn one, demanding a strong front tyre. Ambient conditions are usually cold though, especially as the race is held almost a month later than last year, and the tarmac is slippery so softer front tyre compounds are required to generate grip.

For the same reasons, softer rear tyres are also required whilst balancing the demands of the fast Parabo lica corner in particular. The circuit's imbalance of four left-handed corners and nine rights mean that Bridgestone has selected asymmetric rear slick tyres for Estoril.

The right-handers are generally fast so the tyre temperature in the right shoulder is high but the left-handers are generally slow, including the chicane which is the slowest corner on the calendar, so tyre temperature in the left side is much cooler.

Particularly with the reinstatement of Friday morning practice, when the conditions are colder, tyre warm-up performance is very important. After its debut success in Australia, Bridgestone are again incorporating the extra soft compound rubber into the asymmetric rear slicks to improve warm-up performance and grip on the slippery tarmac.

Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department

"After a long run of overseas races we return to Europe for the final back-to-back of the season and although the Championship has already been won, there is still a lot to play for further down the order with close battles being fought for second position and throughout the top ten. Estoril is being run almost a month later this season than in 2009 meaning we can expect colder conditions, but we have prepared for this by using our extra soft compound in our asymmetric rear slicks. I am pleased that this compound was so well received by the riders in Australia because we have been listening to the riders throughout the season and this extra soft compound has been developed in response to the feedback they have given us."

Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

"Estoril is a challenging mixture of slow-speed lefts, high-speed rights and interlinking straights that test all aspects of the rider, machine and tyre package. The nature of the track changes from one corner to the next, and the tyres also have to contend with a surface change during the lap after partial resurfacing work conducted in 2006. The use of asymmetric rear tyres is also very important here to balance the tyre temperature around the asymmetric layout.

"It's a slippery circuit and the temperature is low so this demands softer compounds to generate grip, but the heavy braking points require a strong front tyre and the fast and long right-hand corners necessitate harder compounds in the right shoulder of the rear slicks so we have to achieve a balance with our tyre selection. Warm-up performance around the left-handers is particularly important, and because of this we will use the extra soft compound that we debuted in Australia in the left shoulders of our asymmetric rear slicks. I am pleased with the positive feedback from the riders after using our extra soft compound as we have developed it after listening to them throughout the season and working closely with them to always try and improve our tyre offerings. This tyre development is a very important aspect of our participation in MotoGP and ultimately filters down to improve our road tyres."

-source: bridgestone

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Jorge Lorenzo