Japanese Grand Prix, Motegi: Bridgestone Review Friday
Fittingly for Honda at their circuit, the leaderboard was dominated today by Honda machines: the Repsol Honda trio of Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso in first, second and third respectively and San Carlo Honda Gresini Marco Simoncelli fourth fastest.
The lead trio all finished the afternoon’s 45-minute free practice session faster than the existing lap record, set by Stoner back in 2008, and were separated by just 0.162seconds. The fastest non-Honda was the Factory Yamaha machine of Jorge Lorenzo in fifth.
After the earthquake that shook the region back in March, part of Twin Ring Motegi was damaged and extensive work has been undertaken to fully restore the MotoGP circuit, which was also used by the IndyCar Series two weeks ago. This means that the track was partially resurfaced at the end of June and is now very smooth, and clearly very fast.
In the morning many riders used the medium compound front slick and in the afternoon all riders tested the hard compound which was favoured in these conditions because of its increased stability which is important in the hard braking zones at Motegi.
This year Bridgestone have selected softer rear tyre compounds for Motegi, based on data from last year and in response to calls from riders for improved warm-up and safety in the opening laps. In the morning session the soft compound rear worked well and was used by some riders throughout the session, but in the afternoon as the laptimes improved the harder rear was favoured. It shows though that both rear compound options are well suited to these conditions.
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Firstly after all the conjecture this season I am pleased that we are running here in Japan and everybody can see that the situation at the circuit is quite safe. The organisers have done a very good job in repairing the damage that was done to the circuit, and the new surface is really very good. The laptimes at the front are both close and very fast, with the top three already all under the lap record which has stood since 2008, so this gives a measure of the level of performance.
“The harder front is clearly preferable here for its improved stability in the heavy braking areas, but in the two sessions today we saw riders using both rear tyre options, indicating that our allocation this weekend is well suited to these conditions and that going one step softer was a good decision. The weather forecast shows that it will be cooler from tomorrow, around 20 degrees Celsius, and this will be the most important factor in tyre compound choice.”
Source: Bridgestone Motorsport