Misano MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma19/09/2012
Wednesday 19 September 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
This year’s San Marino and Rimini Grand Prix was won by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who continued his excellent record at a circuit where he has never finished off the podium in his MotoGP™ career.
Conditions this year at Misano varied considerably over the race weekend. Friday and Saturday were affected by rain and wind, though a change in the weather on Saturday afternoon ensured that qualifying, morning warm up and the race took place in dry conditions. The limited dry running time before Sunday meant tyre choice for the race was the same for every rider on the grid, with the softer rear and harder front slick being selected by all twenty-one riders lining up on the grid.
Lorenzo’s sixth win of the season, coupled with his closest challenger Dani Pedrosa failing to finish at Misano means the 2010 MotoGP™ champion holds a thirty-eight point advantage in the riders standings with five races remaining.
Q&A with Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
Every rider on the grid selected the same tyre combination for the Misano Grand Prix; why was the combination of the softer rear and harder front slick so widely used?
“Weather conditions this year at Misano were almost the same as for the 2011 race and every rider on the grid also selected the same tyre combination as last year; the softer rear matched with the harder front slick. The reason for this is that the Misano circuit demands a lot of stability from the front-end of the bike and the rubber compound used in the hard front slick has a slight advantage in this regard compared to the softer options. The softer rear slick has an advantage in edge grip and warm-up performance and gives greater drive out of corners. A major factor in every rider selecting the same tyre combination was the lack of dry track time.”
So the lack of dry track time resulted in race tyre choice for each rider being the same, but how did the bad weather affect the track condition itself?
“The rain on Friday and Saturday did create difficult track conditions. For the free practice sessions, the circuit was neither completely wet nor completely dry and had large damp patches which resulted in highly variable grip levels. The improved warm-up performance of the 2012 specification tyres meant some riders felt comfortable using slicks on the damp track, but the data acquired in such conditions was of limited benefit. As already mentioned, the biggest problem the unsettled weather caused was limiting the amount of dry track time before the race to find a proper setup, though some riders also commented that grip levels during the race were less than ideal, so it is possible that the poor weather earlier in the weekend contributed to this lack of grip.”
Temperatures for the race were the warmest they had been all weekend, but still every rider selected the softer rear slick. In what kind of conditions would use of the harder rear slick been more widespread?
“In the past at Misano when the track temperature has been above 40°C the harder rear slick has been more widely used. For the last couple of years however, the track temperature for the race has been around the mid-thirty degree mark and tyre wear has not been too much of a problem and the softer rear slick has been preferred.”