by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 161
MotoGP control tyre suppliers Bridgestone are rushing through a special batch of harder-spec tyres for next weekend’s Italian GP at Mugello, in response to tyre failure in the heat at Assen last weekend. But after intensive testing of the back tyres that shed chunks on three riders at the Dutch TT, as well as others from the same batch, the company insists that there was no manufacturing fault, and it was only unexpected hot conditions and machine or rider quirks that caused the failures. Three riders were affected. Valentino Rossi pitted to change his rear after a big piece flew off; Ben Spies lost third place when the same thing happened to him late in the race; Hector Barbera dropped back radically, although still finishing seventh. Motorsport Tyre Development manager Shinji Aoki said the failures had been caused by overheating. One major contributory factor was unusually high track temperature: “Last year it was18 degrees, this year 40 degrees,” he said. The specification they had chosen in advance “did not have enough performance for this year’s Assen.” The failures were not related to this year’s softer-construction tyres, produced in response to riders’ requests for better warm-up performance, although the extra torque of the 1000s compared with the 800s might be a factor, as well as riding style and different electronic programmes. Other riders suffered only normal tyre degradation. To avoid potential temperature problems at hot and fast Mugello, they were rushing through a special batch with harder compound and construction for that race. “It is quite a tight schedule. They are making the tyres now,” he said. Mugello was the scene of a catastrophic Bridgestone failure in 2004, when Shinya Nakano’s rear disintegrated at top speed on the straight, precipitating a violent crash from which he was lucky to escape barely injured. Asked if there had ever been any manufacturing fault, Aoki said no, until reminded of that incident, and another in 2009 when Pedrosa’s front shed a chunk. He could not recall that incident, but admitted that there had been a few problems “in the early days” . Casey Stoner begged to differ, adding to his complaints of chatter generated by the latest front tyre. Bridgestone would never admit failures, he said, in advance of the company’s explanation. “They do have got faulty tires and no matter what they probably will try to say it was tyre pressures or the way they set up the bike or something. But when you see chunks like that coming off you know there’s no real excuse for it.” He said that in spite of improving bike technology, “it’s harder for us to beat lap records.” This proved true at the Sachsenring. “I’ve been with Bridgestone since 2007 and even when we were working with them closely they’d still never admit that there was something when there obviously was.” Aoki brushed off the criticism. “I think Casey is unhappy, but for Bridgestone it is not just Casey Stoner. It doesn’t matter if it is a factory MotoGP team or a CRT team, they all get the same level of support,” he said. BRIDGESTONE: ASSEN TYRE FAILURES NOT OUR FAULT Oh yes they were, says Stoner 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS