Czech Grand Prix, Brno: Bridgestone Preview
The Czech Republic’s Automotodrom Brno circuit, located 200km south west of Prague, gets the second half of the 2011 MotoGP season underway on 14 August, but it is also a significant race because it is the first at which the new tyre supply regulations come into effect, giving riders a greater choice of softer compounds.
Compared to last year, this season Bridgestone have selected softer rear slicks for Brno and they are also asymmetric for the first time in the single supply era. Under the new tyre allocation rules every rider will also now have a choice of three compounds of front slicks with an additional soft compound option being made available for increased safety in the case of low ambient and track temperature.
Furthermore, every rider will also have a choice of rear slick tyre compounds – instead of being prescribed five tyres of each of the two available compounds, from Brno onwards each rider can now make a choice after FP2 of whether he wants six of the softer and four of the harder or vice versa, or five of each.
The Brno circuit is characterised by its dramatic changes of elevation which total more than 73metres from the circuit’s highest point to its lowest, and this rollercoaster of tarmac creates specific challenges for tyres.
Weight transfer of the bikes is affected by the elevation, which consequently generates increased pressure on the tyres. Downhill sections throw weight forward, especially under braking, and so a strong front tyre is required for good stability. This is why Brno is one of only a handful of races all season for which Bridgestone have selected extra hard compound front slicks.
The importance of good corner exit speed is greater at Brno as it enables the machines to achieve improved drive and speed along the steep uphill sections of the circuit. This means good rear traction is very important to allow riders to open the throttle as early as possible. Here the uphill elevation changes actually help the rear tyres find even more grip by transferring weight to the rear of the bike, helping to force the rear tyre onto the tarmac.
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Hard, Ex Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The Czech Republic Grand Prix is the first for our new tyre supply system and I am confident that with it we will be able to answer satisfactorily what the riders have been asking for in terms of a greater choice of softer compounds specifically to improve warm-up performance. Brno is an abrasive circuit so grip is usually quite high, but I expect the softer compound options to be well used in the cooler morning sessions in particular. After a summer break since the last round at Laguna Seca, I’m sure everyone is recharged and eager to get back to racing and I hope that in changing our tyre supply system we can play our part in contributing to close competition and an exciting title race in the second half of this season.”
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“The surface at Brno is very abrasive so poses quite a challenge for tyre durability, demanding harder compounds especially in the front. However from this race onwards our new tyre supply system comes into effect meaning that in addition to our ‘core’ compounds we also provide every rider with softer front slicks. The weather in the region can be quite cool so I hope these changes will be well received and judging by their recent comments I think we will see quite a few riders choosing more of the softer compound options.
“The circuit is generally fast and flowing so the lateral loads generated are high, particularly in the right shoulders. The elevation changes challenge the front tyres, especially into the downhill corners where the weight transfer creates extra load. The medium speed corners require good shoulder stability from the rear tyres and good traction on corner exit, and excess sliding around the flowing lap can rapidly accelerate tyre wear given the abrasiveness of the tarmac.”
Source: Bridgestone Motorsport