MotoGP Competition “Tight” with Single Tyre Supplier
Previewing the fourth round of this year’s MotoGP championship, which takes place at Le Mans at the weekend, Hiroshi Yamada predicts that competition will continue to be fierce following the presence of three different riders at the top of the leaderboard after each of the first three Grand Prix weekends: “We’ve now had three races of this new season with Bridgestone supporting all riders and teams as the series’ Official Tyre Supplier, and in this time I am very pleased to have seen three championship leaders. Casey is only 11 points behind Valentino and Jorge and Dani are tied on points for third position, so we could see another change at the French Grand Prix.
“Valentino will want to win to keep himself on-track for his 100th victory in Mugello and Casey will want to make amends for last year’s race, but Jorge and Dani are also fast at Le Mans, Colin Edwards has performed well there in the past and after his excellent fourth position in Jerez, Randy de Puniet will carry a lot of confidence into his home grand prix so I think competition at the front will be tight. We had full wet race in 2007 and last year rain fell in the middle of the race, so I hope this year we will have another exciting battle but with dry conditions!”
After a sun-soaked Spanish Grand Prix, the weather is set to be much more unpredictable as MotoGP heads to France. There have been two rain-affected race weekends already this season, and Le Mans is liable to be another based on weather conditions in past years. Expecting cooler track conditions and inclement weather, Bridgestone has opted for soft and medium compound front slicks, as used in Motegi and Qatar. It is the fourth consecutive of the soft and medium rear Bridgestone options, having been selected for every race so far this season. In the case of rain, the soft Bridgestone wet tyres will be available. This compound was also used in Motegi on Friday afternoon and for Saturday morning’s free practice.
The French Grand Prix will be run on the same weekend as it was last year, despite being a round earlier in the calendar, so an air temperature of 15 to 25 degrees Celsius and a track temperature of 20 to 35 degrees, depending on the weather, can be expected – much less than the 49 degrees on-track in Jerez. In 2008 Valentino Rossi took his second victory of the season using Bridgestone tyres in a race that was rained upon at the halfway mark. It was Rossi’s 90th career win, and he’ll be even more motivated to win this year to keep himself on track to score his 100th victory at his home grand prix at Mugello at the end of May.