Bridgestone starts 2012 MotoGP testing
Bridgestone has started testing its 2012 MotoGP tyre testing season in Valencia, Spain and Sepang, Malaysia. The company says it has spent the winter completing a programme of intensive development, and the tyre evaluation performed around the world over the next two months will be used to gauge perception among the riders. While six lap records were set on Bridgestone rubber in 2011, feedback from riders suggested that additional safety features needed to be built into new tyres, and Bridgestone Motorsport general manager, Tohru Ubukata says this is where the focus has been.
“To achieve this target,” Ubukata says, “our technical aim for the new specification tyres was to make their grip characteristics easier to manage, improve warm-up performance and increase their operating temperature range. The positive reception our new tyres received at the Valencia post-season test showed we are well on track with development, and we have continued our progress over the winter break.”
At Sepang, Bridgestone’s newly appointed safety advisor to Dorna, Loris Capirossi, to continue their collaboration to improve rider safety. During the test, Bridgestone and Capriossi will monitor rider reaction to the 2012 specification tyres and establish a working plan for the upcoming season.
“At Sepang we will introduce new specification tyres for testing,” Ubukata continued, “while for the Valencia test we will continue to evaluate the tyres we debuted there last November. Apart from examining performance data during the tests, we will work closely with safety advisor Loris Capirossi and the riders to gauge their perception of the new tyres. This is all part of our goal to ensure optimal tyre performance for all motorcycles on the grid in 2012.”
While the majority of teams took to the Sepang International Circuit today for their first test, some teams fielding Claiming Rule Team (CRT) bikes this year were testing the new tyres on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. Riders at the first Sepang test had access to newly developed front tyres featuring revisions to rubber compounds and construction that were specifically developed to boost warm-up performance. Evaluation of the new front tyre will take place alongside ongoing assessment of the 2012 specification tyres that were well received by riders when debuted at last November’s Valencia post-season test.
Bridgestone has made these tyre compounds available in Sepang and Valencia:
• Sepang – Front: Hard & Extra-Hard; Rear: Medium & Hard; Rain: Hard
• Valencia – Front: Soft & Medium; Rear: Medium & Hard (asymmetric); Rain: Soft
To provide on-site support at each of the tests, Bridgestone has sent technical engineers to both Spain and Malaysia. Aside from providing technical support, the engineers are focusing on the acquisition of tyre data and rider feedback, all of which will be compiled and sent back to Bridgestone’s Technical Centre in Japan for further analysis.
The complete MotoGP test schedule for 2012 is as follows:
• Valencia (Private test), 30-31 January
• Sepang (IRTA official test), 31 January – 2 February
• Jerez (Private test), 20-22 February
• Sepang (IRTA official test), 28 February – 1 March
• Aragon (Private test), 8-9 March
• Jerez (IRTA official test), 23-25 March
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