Bridgestone Motorsport heads to the Italy's Adriatic coast this weekend for round 13 of this year's MotoGP championship, which sees premier class motorcycle racing return to Misano for the first time since 1993. Misano will be the second...
Bridgestone Motorsport heads to the Italy's Adriatic coast this weekend for round 13 of this year's MotoGP championship, which sees premier class motorcycle racing return to Misano for the first time since 1993.
Misano will be the second occasion that MotoGP fever hits Italy this season after the thrills of Mugello less than three months ago. Bridgestone will be hoping that its MotoGP debut at Misano will help extend an unbroken run of Italian podium success which has seen Ducati's Loris Capirossi take third and second in Mugello in 2005 and 2006 respectively and, more recently, Alex Barros claim an excellent third place for Pramac d'Antin at the same track back in June.
After another awe-inspiring performance in Brno two weeks' ago, Bridgestone-shod Ducati Corse rider Casey Stoner now leads the riders' championship by sixty points. Stunning rides by Suzuki duo John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen in the Czech Republic, with the former claiming a MotoGP career-best second position, see the Bridgestone-shod pair tied for points in the championship top five.
Riders will have a total of 34 tyres at their disposal this weekend with one extra front tyre and two extra rears being made available, in line with a one-off revision to the FIM technical regulations for this event. An extra free practice session has been squeezed into the schedule on Friday afternoon to allow extra time for riders, teams and tyre manufacturers to get to grips with this new-look Misano circuit.
Tyre Talk with Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit
How does Bridgestone prepare for new events like Misano?
"There are several factors involved in preparing for a new event, but the most important job for a tyre manufacturer is to fully appreciate what pressures the machine is going to place on the tyre. We try to understand the circuit's characteristics by assessing the nature of the asphalt, the composition of corners, the top speeds, cornering speeds, all the factors that make up a lap of the track. This is the same process for each and every event on the calendar, but the big difference at Misano is that we have no data from previous years from which to work."
What sort of track does Bridgestone expect Misano to be?
"Misano seems to be quite a narrow track with a few short straights and tight corners.Most of the corners seem to be slow speed, so basically the priority will be on finding good braking stability and good traction. From what we have heard, the track could be quite bumpy, but the riders will only begin to get a real feel for the track when MotoGP bikes make their first runs there on Friday."
How important will the extra one hour of practice be on Friday?
"We will have three practice sessions on Friday and our riders will be permitted an extra three tyres in their allocation for this extra hour. All riders will have 15 front tyres and 19 rear tyres this weekend for four free practice sessions, qualifying practice, warm-up and the race itself. I do not think our approach to the weekend will be any different to other events but it is the first trip to Misano for MotoGP so our teams and riders will certainly spend more time than usual on setting up the bikes. This extra hour on Friday will therefore be useful to understand the direction we need to take with tyre choice and to conduct a thorough evaluation of the specifications that our teams select."
Riding Perspective with Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini)
"This latest configuration of Misano circuit is really like a completely new track for MotoGP. In addition to the newer parts of the track, we have to ride it in the opposite direction to before, clockwise, so it is going to be a new experience for all of us. There are some small corners and hairpins which can make it tough on a MotoGP bike. The fast part of the lap is pretty nice to ride but it could be a bit scary and difficult to negotiate with so many other riders. The circuit could be pretty demanding on the front tyre, but the track surface looks good, so I hope our Bridgestone tyres will again show a competitive level of performance, as they have done at most of the races this season. For me, it is going to be more of a physical battle after the problems during Brno. My main target is to be fit and ready to ride in front of the crowd. Having a second race in Italy in addition to Mugello is nice because it is always a privilege to race in front of the passionate Italian fans. It gives us Italian riders a nice sensation to ride with such an atmosphere and we derive a lot of satisfaction from it."