A Bridgestone generated interview with its motorsport manager Hiroshi Yamada, looking back on this year's MotoGP World Championship and ahead to the 2014 season.
Bridgestone has been MotoGP's exclusive tyre supplier since 2009…
Yamada-san, how would you summarise the 2013 MotoGP season?
“Overall, I think this season has been fantastic – one of the best ever for the series. All the riders were performing at a very high level and to witness Marc break record after record and Jorge defend his title with so much passion, I think it brought many new fans to MotoGP. Personally, I was very happy to see that despite our focus on producing safer, more user-friendly tyres, eleven Circuit Best Laps and ten Circuit Record Laps were set this year, showing the performance potential of our Battlax tyres.
“Also, to start the year with 24 riders – the largest grid since Bridgestone started in MotoGP – shows how the series continues to grow and when I heard that the overall attendance figure this year was the highest ever, it reaffirmed to me that the 2013 season was one of the best ever.”
From a rider perspective, what were the standout performances for you this year?
“To be honest, there are too many highlights to choose just a couple. Marc's domination at the Americas Grand Prix was significant as it showed the world just what a talent had entered the series.
“Jorge's brave performance at Assen was the mark of a true champion, and his race at Motegi was one of the most impressive displays of controlled riding I've seen. Marc and Jorge's battle at Silverstone was also an amazing show for the fans. Valentino winning at Assen – I could go on and on! Then you have performances like Aleix qualifying fifth in Germany which was so impressive on a CRT machine.
“The fact that I can't just choose a few highlights shows the depth of talent in MotoGP at the moment. The future of the sport is looking very bright indeed.”
There were many highlights, but the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island must have been a shock for you.
“Yes, Phillip Island was an extreme situation and something we've never experienced before. We've always known Phillip Island is a severe circuit for tyres and so we prepared by running a lot of simulations heading into the race. When presented with the situation we made sure two things happened. We did the best within the circumstances to ensure things ran as smoothly as they could, and we made sure we learned from the situation to avoid a repeat in the future.
“Given the tyre allocation we had at Phillip Island, I am pleased that we could work with race direction and Dorna to ensure rider safety and put on a good show for the fans. Now our focus is on developing a tyre allocation that will suit the new Phillip Island surface, and a major part of that development will take place after we test there early next year.”
During your long career with Bridgestone, you've worked in both a competition and sole tyre supplier environment in MotoGP. Which supply situation do you think offers the most excitement?