Sepang sees three riders faster than record on Bridgestone MotoGP tyres
Bridgestone was at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia between 22 and 24 February, 2011 to supply riders at MotoGP’s second pre-season tests with one front and one rear test-specification slick tyre, in addition to normal allocation of two compounds each of front (hard and extra-hard) and rear (medium and hard) slicks. After three dry and hot days of running, with the track temperature reaching a high of 57 degrees Celsius, the fastest times on each day were set in the cooler morning or late afternoon runs. The third and final day of the test was the fastest overall, with the leading Repsol Honda duo of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa both lapping the 5.5km circuit in under two minutes. The top three riders also each lapped quicker than the official circuit best lap of 2m 00.518s, set by Valentino Rossi in 2009.
The fastest laps were set using the harder option front tyre for its increased stability under braking, especially given the high track temperature and the heavy braking points from high-speed at Sepang, coupled with a softer rear for the extra traction and grip advantage it offers. Some riders though, including Valentino Rossi, preferred the softer front.
During the test, the Sepang International Circuit also raised money for its “RM2 or More” campaign supporting the Malaysia Flood Relief Fund. Teams were invited to donate for each member of staff present, but instead Bridgestone donated for each tyre brought to the test, meaning RM1000 for 1000 tyres.
Hirohide Hamashima, director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said: “I am happy with tyre performance at this test because the track temperature has been high but, owing mainly to the development of the bikes over the winter, the times at the front are incredibly fast. We have gained a lot of data from this test and have been able to confirm the performance of the 2011-spec front and rear slicks so I am pleased about this. Several riders also completed long-distance runs and durability and consistency were satisfactory even in such demanding conditions so I am confident of tyre performance again this year.
“This has been a valuable test for our fundamental tyre development work too and we have gathered good data and feedback from riders on our front and rear test tyres, so I must thank them for their support. We are always working hard to improve our tyre technology, and this work will help us to ensure we have the right developmental direction for future tyres both for MotoGP of course and also for our Battlax consumer road tyres.”