Qatari GP: Bridgestone preview

The 2007 MotoGP championship gets underway in earnest at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar this week after an intensive pre-season period of testing and development concluded at Jerez, Spain just over a week ago. This debut race on an ...

The 2007 MotoGP championship gets underway in earnest at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar this week after an intensive pre-season period of testing and development concluded at Jerez, Spain just over a week ago. This debut race on an expanded 18-race calendar will see Bridgestone work for the first time with a strict limit of 31 tyres (14 fronts, 17 rears) per rider for the duration of the event. Bridgestone has increased its tyre supply to five teams this season (Ducati, Honda Gresini, Kawasaki, Pramac D'Antin and Suzuki) and will look to make good use of the recent Qatar test to get its sixth MotoGP season off to a solid start.

Tyre Talk with Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Department

Qatar Testing

"The mid-February Qatar test was very helpful for Bridgestone. It was the final stage to confirm the fundamental development for our tyres, and we found a good direction for compound, shape, construction. Based on the results, we have carried out the final adjustment to make our tyres as competitive as possible for this weekend. The feedback and data from our teams has steered this final development step and consequently we will bring around ten specifications of front and rear tyre, a medium and a hard spec for each of our five teams, which we hope will yield positive results. Qatar has never been one of our strongest tracks, but this recent test has indicated that progress has been made."

The Weekend Ahead

"It is tougher than ever to say who will be the competitive force in each GP. We have a totally new tyre line up for this season, partly as a result of our usual year-on-year development, and partly to adjust the tyres for new character of the 800cc machines. We are confident in the work that we have done in Japan and in testing since last season, but the target is always moving. We are acutely aware that our rivals are always using their vast experience of top tier motorcycle racing in a bid to stay one competitive step ahead. The Ducati team finished third and fourth on our tyres in last year's Qatar GP on an unfavourable track for us and anything can happen at the first race of the season. It all comes down to who has done their homework most diligently."

New Tyre Regulations

"After months of discussion and negotiation, Qatar will see the debut of the new MotoGP tyre regulations, which will restrict to 31 the number of tyres that we can supply each rider. We carried out a simulation of the tyre scanning and marking procedures with FIM in the Jerez test with positive results. All in all, thanks to the support of our five teams, we can adapt well to the new restrictions and get straight down to race preparation work in Thursday practice."

Qualifying Tyres

"Qualifying looks set to be an interesting battle this season if the results of the forty-minute shoot-out in Jerez are anything to go by. At Bridgestone, we certainly acknowledge that there is work to do on our qualifying tyres to enhance one-lap performance. Based on the results of winter tests, we put together a specific development plan for qualifying tyres, which we have already started to work on. The new 800cc machines demand a lot of emphasis on the front tyre to combat the increased cornering speeds, so we are working on the front tyre in qualifying to make it work in harmony with the rear."

Riding Perspective with Ducati's Casey Stoner

"The Qatar track surface can be pretty changeable, one day the track is fast, the next day it can be slow. It's not the most exciting track, it's very flat, with not enough camber on the corners, and most of it is average corners flowing together. It can be good for racing though, you normally get a nice little battle up front. The tests we did at Qatar last month were very positive, so I'm feeling quite confident going into this race. I've had some good races in the past there, so it could be good for us. We were okay with tyres in the test and we ran a good race pace. I couldn't be happier with the team, everyone gets on great and the bike has got better and better at every track we've been to. It's looking very competitive and the Bridgestone tyres are looking great as well."

-credit: bridgestone

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Casey Stoner