Valencian GP: Bridgestone preview

After 17 races, 435 racing laps over a total distance of 1,965 kilometres, the 2008 MotoGP World Championship enters its final leg this weekend in Valencia for the 18th and last round of the season. Ahead of the Valencia GP, there have been four...

After 17 races, 435 racing laps over a total distance of 1,965 kilometres, the 2008 MotoGP World Championship enters its final leg this weekend in Valencia for the 18th and last round of the season.

Ahead of the Valencia GP, there have been four different race winners this season with Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner strongly representing Bridgestone on the top step of the podium. A total of nine riders have scored podium results with Rizla Suzuki duo Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi, as well as Alice Team's Toni Elias keeping the red Bridgestone podium caps a frequent sight on the rostrum during the year.

Over the years, Valencia has offered Bridgestone mixed fortunes with the best results coming in the past two seasons. In 2006, Ducati took a spectacular and well-received 1-2 result with stand-in rider Troy Bayliss taking the win in his first race on Bridgestone tyres. Loris Capirossi finished a close second which secured him third place in that year's championship. Last season, world champion Casey Stoner was the highest placed Bridgestone rider in second place, behind race winner Dani Pedrosa, with Suzuki rider John Hopkins securing fourth place in the championship with a competitive ride to third.

With a total of 14 wins and 11 pole positions this season, Bridgestone will be aiming to rediscover winning form at Valencia to end its most competitive season in MotoGP in style.

Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit

"Valencia always serves as a great venue to host to final race of the season and I am sure this season will be no exception. We go to Valencia with an incredible 14 wins by riders using our tyres this year and having already confirmed a 1-2 in the championship thanks to Valentino and Casey's successes over the season. We have only taken victory in Valencia once previously with Troy Bayliss and Ducati back in 2006. Loris finished second in that race and enabled us to take our first ever 1-2 race result. Last year, Dani was very strong and dominated the event, but Casey and John both took podium results on our tyres, which was a good result. We hope to return to winning ways at Valencia this weekend, which will be the final race with tyre competition before we enter a new phase next season as sole tyre supplier in the championship. Our rivals will naturally want to conclude the season with a strong result, so we will surely face a big challenge this weekend."

Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Race Tyre Development

"After a run of four consecutive races in America, Japan, Australia and Malaysia, we return to Europe for the final race of the season in Valencia. At just 4km in length, it is the third shortest circuit of the season after Sachsenring and Laguna Seca, but nevertheless offers us a nice technical challenge. It is one of the few anti-clockwise circuits that we visit and we have nine left hand turns compared to just five right. Over such a short lap, this means the stresses on the left hand side of the tyre are quite severe. As always with asymmetric tracks, we must look for durability on the more used side of the tyre, while finding a compromise to ensure the other side of the tyre has good warm-up performance. It is quite a slow, twisty track, placing a premium on edge grip over the lap, and success will be rewarded to teams who can set up their bikes to allow riders to find a good rhythm. The weather in Valencia at this time of the year will be cooler to what we faced in Malaysia, but there can be quite big differences in track temperature year-on-year. In 2006, the track reached around 40 degrees on race day, but last year when the race was held one week later, it was only around 25 degrees. So the weather will play an important role in deciding which specification front and rear will be most beneficial over 30 tough laps."

-credit: bridgestone

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Troy Bayliss , John Hopkins , Chris Vermeulen , Toni Elias , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa