Courtesy of MotoGP
Sunday marked the first ever MotoGP™ race at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo, which provided Bridgestone with some specific challenges following the brief test there last year.
The circuit turned out to have the second highest average speed on the MotoGP calendar thanks to its fast, flowing layout and a high grip surface. Track conditions changed significantly over the race weekend, with wind-blown sand creating an abrasive, yet slippery surface on Friday. As the track surface saw more use, it improved every session and reached its peak condition for Sunday’s race.
Shinji Aoki, Manager of Bridgestone’s Motorsport Tyre Development Department commented, “For the test last year, the track was extremely dirty and the pace was much slower than we saw on the race weekend. However we were still able to assess which parts of the circuit were more severe, take tarmac samples and see how the behaviour of the MotoGP machines on the track which helped us develop a good tyre allocation for the race.”
“Also, although the track had a large amount of sand on it last year, it means we were prepared for similar conditions this year, especially in FP1. This is why we saw high rates of rear tyre wear in the first session, and then a return to normal tyre wear in the following sessions and the race. This was the main reason we decided to make three options of front slick tyre available to riders in Argentina, as we knew track conditions would change significantly between Friday and Sunday.”
He added, “Argentina was the only event where we will supply symmetric rear slicks this year. For the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, previously we’ve always offered symmetric rear slicks but for this year we’ve developed new asymmetric rear slicks for this circuit. Using asymmetric rear slicks you can really fine tune your compound hardness on each shoulder of the rear tyre to suit the characteristics of each circuit. For Autódromo Termas de Rio Hondo we felt symmetric specifications would work best and judging by the performance of our tyres in Argentina it was the correct decision.”