Bridgestone slick compounds used: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Soft, Medium A dry Dutch GP weekend was dominated by Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, who claimed pole and took a decisive victory, becoming only the second rider to reach 100 grand prix...
Bridgestone slick compounds used:
Front: Soft, Medium.
Rear: Soft, Medium
A dry Dutch GP weekend was dominated by Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, who claimed pole and took a decisive victory, becoming only the second rider to reach 100 grand prix triumphs. In doing so, he moved himself into the lead of the world championship. The championship top three formed the podium, whilst Colin Edwards equalled his best result of the season with fourth. An intense race-long battle for sixth position was won by James Toseland to score his best result of the season. Bridgestone slick compound choices were varied, with most of the field favouring the medium compound for front and rear but four riders opting for the softer specification rear slick.
Q&A with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
How can you summarise the weekend from Bridgestone's perspective?
We did not have the challenge of very high track temperatures this weekend, as we did in Catalunya, but we did see a large fluctuation in track temperature over the three days. On Thursday, the track was 41 degrees Celsius for free practice. For qualifying it was just 31 degrees, and for the race 35 degrees. A temperature change of ten degrees is quite significant in terms of available grip and tyre wear, yet there were no problems for either our soft or medium compound slicks during the weekend.
How did the soft and the medium compound Bridgestone slicks perform during the weekend?
Assen was a good example of how versatile our compound ranges are this season. In the first free practice, Randy de Puniet was fastest on the medium compound Bridgestone slicks when the track temperature was the highest of the weekend. During qualifying, the medium compound front slick was still the favoured choice even though the track temperature was much lower, and the medium compound rear also worked very well in the cooler conditions.
Of course, towards the end of the qualifying session riders used the soft compound rear Bridgestone slick for their best times, and this is something we are used to seeing now this season. This is no surprise though. Tyre compound choice is a trade-off between peak grip and tyre durability. For a qualifying run, each rider does not need race-distance durability from their tyres which means they can run the softer option rear slick for its added traction to go faster over a shorter number of laps. The medium compound front Bridgestone slick was favoured because of the additional stability it provided, particularly under braking.
The race also gave us another good example of our compound versatility. Only four riders chose the soft compound rear Bridgestone slick, whilst the rest of the field used the medium compound. Pramac Racing's Mika Kallio and San Carlo Honda Gresini's Toni Elias were two of the riders to use the soft compound rear, and were able to match the pace of the medium compound riders around them in the battle for sixth position. Mika was leading this battle until the last lap when unfortunately he crashed out and Toni was able to close down the group and climb into eighth at the finish before being given a time penalty by the stewards after the race. Toni was also able to record his fastest time on lap 18 of the 26-lap race, which is a good indication of the durability and consistency of the Bridgestone slicks.