MotoGP™ racing bursts back to life this weekend with the first race of the 2014 season, under the floodlights of Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on 23rd March.
Bridgestone – the number one tyre and rubber manufacturer in the world – will be right there in the heart of the action, entering its 6th consecutive season as official tyre supplier to MotoGP™.
While the pre-season focus has been on developing and testing 2014 specification tyres with the teams and riders, Bridgestone has not forgotten the growing army of fans attracted to MotoGP™. For them, and starting with the first race in Qatar, Bridgestone has introduced a new tyre colour marking system aimed at increasing spectator involvement with the race.
New tyre markings add extra dimension for fans
For the 2014 season, all four slick Bridgestone tyres will be colour-coded: green for the extra-soft compound; white for the soft compound; black (no stripe) for the medium compound; and red for the hard compound. Fans will therefore be able to see which tyre compound each rider is using on the front and rear of the bike, at any given time. The change will also make it easier to distinguish between the tyre allocations of factory and open-class bikes, since these two classes of machine have access to different rear slick compound options over a race weekend.
Hiroshi Yamada, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department, summarises: “With the great impact of MotoGP™ racing on TV, and more and more fans tuning in to watch races, this new tyre marking system will make it easier to understand riders’ tyre choices. I believe this will be a welcome change for fans, and will make the sport more attractive to the millions of people watching the action around the globe.”
As only two options of wet tyre will be offered for each MotoGP™ round, wet tyres will retain the existing marking system with the plain, black tyre denoting the harder option and a white stripe indicating the softer option.
Special demands on race tyres
Twenty-three riders in 13 teams will compete in MotoGP™ for the 2014 season, which will span 18 races in 13 countries. The first race in Qatar is the only night race on the calendar and sets special challenges for tyres. Night-time temperatures are usually quite low, which would suggest using softer rubber compounds, but there is often abrasive sand on the track surface which makes durability a priority.
Shinji Aoki, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division, explains: “The combination of low temperature, elevated humidity levels and high abrasion makes it a challenging circuit for tyre development. But we have made a big effort to push back the boundaries of motorcycle tyre development with our latest range of tyres, and it is thanks to the efforts of the riders and teams over the past couple months of testing that we arrive at the first race of Qatar fully prepared for the season ahead.”