This weekend's Portuguese MotoGP has been moved forwards from the late season date it has held for the past two seasons, but that still might not be enough to avoid rain.
Rain fell for most of last year's Estoril grand prix weekend - although notably not for the race – and a 60% chance of rain is presently being forecast for all three days of the forthcoming event. There is also a 30% chance of rain on Monday's test day.
Should the track stay dry, Estoril will be the first event of the year to feature Bridgestone's asymmetric rear slick tyres, selected because of the imbalanced demands of the circuit.
There are nine right-handed corners and only four lefts, and generally the right-handers are faster and generate higher loads, resulting in markedly higher tyre temperatures in the right shoulders of the tyres, especially the rears.
The temperature is expected to be higher than experienced in Estoril's previous October date, but not by enough to make a difference to tyre selection and exactly the same compound specifications have been chosen by Bridgestone as last year.
“It's been four weeks since the Spanish GP because of the postponement of the Japanese GP from last weekend so everyone will be keen to go racing again,” said Bridgestone's Hiroshi Yamada.
“The disastrous events in Japan have not affected our MotoGP tyre supply though so there will be no problems in Portugal. This year the Portuguese GP has been moved from October but this change doesn't make a significant difference from a tyre perspective, other than hopefully meaning less chance of rain!
“The conditions last year at Estoril were very difficult for the riders as the race was the first dry session of the whole weekend, almost exactly the inverse of the conditions we saw last time out at Jerez.
“Jorge [Lorenzo] has won this Grand Prix for the last three years so will be a strong force again this season, but after the action-packed last race in Spain there will be many riders looking to make amends and get more points under their belts.
“Our tyre compounds in Portugal are exactly the same as we selected for the race last year when feedback of our extra soft compound was very positive, so I am looking forward to another exciting race followed by a valuable post-race test on Monday.”