With the first MotoGP pre-season test of 2013 less than a month away, Hiroshi Yamada, manager of Bridgestone's Motorsport Department, explains the development work the Japanese tyre manufacturer has undertaken ahead of its fifth year as the Official MotoGP Tyre Supplier...
Yamada-san, last season presented Bridgestone with a significant challenge to produce tyres that met the demands of the new 1000cc MotoGP machines while delivering improved levels of rider safety. Are you satisfied that the 2012 specification tyres achieved their objective?
“Most definitely. Our goal was to provide a family of tyres that were safer, easier for riders to understand and have the performance to meet the demands of the new generation of 1000cc MotoGP motorcycles. Based on the empirical data and feedback from the riders, we achieved this objective so yes, I am very satisfied.
“The top speed, acceleration and general level of performance of the MotoGP machines improved last year due to the extra power of the 1000cc engines and in addition, the minimum machine weight also increased which combined to create even harsher conditions for tyres.
“Despite these challenges and our shift in development focus to making safer tyres, the performance of our 2012 tyres was excellent with nine new race record lap times being set and many races having quicker overall race times.
“Also, the introduction of the CRT machines meant for the first time since becoming sole supplier to MotoGP we had to develop a tyre to suit machines with vastly different power outputs and performance.
“This challenge was especially important to us as it made our MotoGP tyre development more relevant to our motorcycle road tyre programme than ever before. Last season was valuable in learning how to develop a tyre that can deliver safety and performance under a wide range of operating conditions.”
What development path has Bridgestone taken for the 2013 specification MotoGP tyres?
“We will continue to use same basic specification for our 2013 tyres. The construction of the 2012 specification tyres received a good appraisal from the riders and it makes sense for the riders, teams and manufacturers to use the same construction for this season.
“However, we have undertaken some compound development for this season and will also use our current rubber compounds in different ways.