For the first time since the introduction of the single-tyre rule, the podium finishers each used a different combination of tire compounds for their dry laps last Sunday. Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi all finished the race with different slick tyre amalgamations, a product of their confidence in each compound and the time at which they entered the pits to switch to their dry bike.
“We can put this down to two things: riding style and the individual characteristics of the bikes,” analysed Tohru Ubukata, Bridgestone’s Motorcycle Race Tire Development Manager. “At Mugello the characteristics of each machine and the differences in riding style are more pronounced because of the layout of the circuit – very fast and flowing. This means that the different compounds have more of an effect on each rider and bike package so individual preference is even more important.
“The slick Bridgestone compound choices were based on the teams’ experience from Saturday’s free practice and qualifying, on the tire compounds that they found worked for them then. What we have seen though is that our wet tyre performs until riders can swap straight to our slick tires.”
The Gran Premio d’Italia Alice saw the debut of a hard rear tyre, used by eight riders during the dry part of the flag-to-flag race, but it was the hard front that particularly impressed Ubukata. The varied conditions over the weekend showed the operating range of the rubber to be sufficient for any demanding condition and safer for the riders.
“Even in the damp and cold conditions we saw in the race, the hard compound Bridgestone slick worked well and consistently, so this shows that the working temperature range of even the medium and hard compound slick tires is enough to cover all conditions from damp to dry,” said the Japanese manager.