Bridgestone's Motorsport manager Hiroshi Yamada reviews last week's inaugural MotoGP test at Argentina's Circuito Termas de Rio Hondo.
The test was attended by Monster Yamaha Tech3's Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl, GO & FUN Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista and Avintia Blusens' Hector Barbera ahead of the venue's race debut in 2014.
How did Bridgestone prepare itself for the test at Circuito Termas de Rio Hondo and what tyre specifications did you bring for the riders to evaluate?
“We have been liaising with the circuit designers who provided us with a lot of data which we used to run performance simulations at our Technical Centre in Kodaira, Japan. It was clear to see that this circuit would be severe for tyres due to the high average speed and a couple of high-camber corners which put the tyres under extreme loads.
“Looking at the nature of the circuit, one would expect us to supply harder rubber compounds for the test, however we knew that the track surface was dirty due to recent construction work and that there would be cool weather in Argentina, so we decided to bring a full range of tyre compounds so that the riders could manage every possible track condition.
“In the end we brought all of our front slick options to Argentina, plus all of our symmetric rear slick options and a selection of asymmetric rear slicks in both the regular and heat-resistant construction. Due to the dirty track surface and rain on the second day, the riders couldn't assess all the slick tyre choices, but we still managed to acquire enough data to gauge tyre performance at this track.
“We also brought our soft compound wet tyres, but the riders only used these for a sighting lap in the rain and didn't get to evaluate them properly over the two days.”
In terms of severity, how does the Rio Hondo circuit compare to other tracks on the calendar and are there particular sections that are especially challenging for tyres?
“This track is quite severe; I believe it is up there with Phillip Island and Sachsenring in terms of how tough it is on tyres. Whenever there are large radius, high-speed corners it really puts a lot of stress on the tyres. Turn six at Rio Hondo is such a corner and this contributed to very high tyre temperatures during the test.