Phillip Island Tyre Test Wrap, Reflections, Notes & Quotes with BracksY – Images by Andrew Gosling /Teams

Phillip Island lived up to it’s reputation of an ever changing climate as the  heatwave conditions of day two gave way to the autumn conditions that greeted riders for the final day’s testing.

In fact, from Bridgestone’s point of view it was almost perfect conditions as the day almost replicated that infamous day in October last that is the sole reason for the teams to be here this week.

However, the weather conditions rubbed off on the MotoGP riders who were all pretty reluctant to head out first up as a mist of rain blanketed the venue as the track opened.

While the big boys were reluctant to come out to play it wasn’t the case for the Moto2 lads as they were on track as soon as possible, led by the keenest of them all, Tito Rabat. What a work ethic that young Catalan kid possesses: He completed 241 laps for a total distance of 1072.45 kms.

Lorenzo continued his position at the top of the time sheets from the time they all went out on track, before riders quickly returned to the box when there was light drizzle spotting their visors at Siberia around 1030.

The day’s objective was race simulations and to a certain extent they got their wish, but with the somewhat changeable conditions, it was only after some cajoling that the test programe got back on schedule. At lunchtime Yamaha were ready to pull stumps, but after “suggestions” by Bridgestone to Rossi to wait and see what the weather would do, he did do the simulations the company desired.

Lorenzo also completed a race run, trying some setup changes on the M1 that also included testing the new style fairing a couple of times during the day along with Rossi. Both agreed that it improved stability around the course; at least the day provided the gusty winds they were hoping for.

The 2012 champion also waited until the other four MotoGP riders had packed up before going out for a couple of fliers to put in the fastest time of the three days.

Jorge Lorenzo 1st 1:29.068 55 laps 330.3 km/h –  “Today has been different than the previous two days because the weather has been so much colder and in come the wind. The wind doesn’t help you too much to ride; you have to slow down a little bit in some corners and the bike turns less so the lap time has been harder than the other days. In the last hour I try a standard tyre and I can improve my lap time. I decided to stop because there was too much risk the track was colder and colder. I could make my race simulation I wanted to make so I am happy for that even if the tyre I have to use is not perfect compared to the standard tyre, was much less grip on the edge and less traction much more problems especially on the right side. So I hope Bridgestone understand between all the tyres which combination is good for the race. But, it has been positive that Bridgestone have all the information from the riders and they know better which is set up for this track.”

Trouble with your front tyre like Crutchlow in your simulation?

No, the front has been perfect for simulation. The left side has been constant. Not very fast, not very grippy but constant. At the finish it is quite destroyed. A lot of problems in the right corners.”

Happy after three days?

I think they have enough information and they can build the perfect tyre for here.

The standard one is the best one to make the lap time because it has the best grip in both sides and much more traction and much more edge grip but it cannot finish the race. Not for the look on the outside that is quite good but for the inside Bridgestone say it is not good. So cannot finish the race. We didn’t make more than six laps in a row with this tyre. The other ones to make the lap times are half a second especially today it has been cold, it has been more different than other days. Other days maybe three-tenths but today half-a-second or seven-tenths  slower, but your tyres can finish the race.  But some problems on the right for me. Maybe they have to put a harder right side of the tyre of the race in October.

Maybe the right side is too soft so maybe they put one step harder on the right would be perfect.

I try the big tyre yesterday and I don’t like as there was too much dropping off too soon.

For the start of the year, physically I am improving, compared to Malaysia I feel stronger. The bike doesn’t change so much compared to last year. I would like to improve a little more but it is going to be difficult as the season is nearly here but that is the situation, I will give 100% with what we have.”

Times didn’t dramatically improve throughout the three days confirming that the riders were looking to explore the options of the tyres and not go all out for lap times. While the keyboard warriors of the world may thrive on no MotoGP lap records being threatened over the three days the reality is that it was an intense tyre test.

Why would anyone go like a bull at a gate when there are so many options to test on tyres no one had ridden on until Monday and the instructions from those that organised the test – Bridgestone – to implement a schedule that has a mass of six-lap evaluations, combined with longer runs of various lengths mixed with a myriad of tyre changes?

Also, in a little over two weeks the first of 18 races and 54 days of riding commences for these warriors and none of them want to go into the season hurting.

This was reflected in that none of the MotoGP boys tasted tarmac over the three days, although there were a lot of near misses particularly on one construction of tyre and the new larger profile hoop that a few didn’t like at all.

Dani Pedrosa 2nd 1:29.458 32 laps 326.3 km/h – “Today was a strange day weather-wise but similar to the race weekend conditions. I had a longer run on the second best tyre. I didn’t complete the full 20 laps, I did 14 because my neck is hurting a lot after six days of testing. The wind conditions here make the neck work a lot.

The information was clear for me what the best tyre of all the tyres I tried, and pretty much matching with the other riders here. Bridgestone have another test here so they will keep going.

I cannot really tell you exactly the detail it’s hard to say but it was not the soft tyre. It’s hard to say if we will have the tyre in October. The weather is warm the air is warm. When the track cools down or the air is blowing it is cooler the reaction in the tyre is a little bit different. Anyway I think it is much more positive. They had the race tyre here and you can feel immediately from the beginning you can feel the tyre moving more and you have more issues on the bike with that spec but now the new ones are working much more stable and longer.

So, I don’t know if we can have a full 27 laps but sure more than 11!”

Valentino Rossi 3rd 1:29.554 56 laps 330km/h – “Today is very good. I am very happy. I think this is the best day for me. First of all because of the weather and the conditions is a lot more similar to what we will have in the Grand prix so it is important that the bike is good and I am quite fast and especially I make another half simulation, the third of the test and with another tyre. I feel very good that is my best simulation and I close the simulation with the good laps times so I am satisfied.

I like the new fairing especially with the wind it is good. The bike is easier to ride. The fairings work well I don’t know if we use where or when but I like.

We have to give a lot of data to half simulation, Jorge also make a full simulation and also with the different tyres, now Bridgestone take the tyres and try to understand the inside but they already say they are positive. They make good work. When I stopped the rear tyre was still in good shape and I could’ve made it to the end.

With the standard tyre you feel already after two laps the rear start to move and the tyre go worse and worse and worse but the new tyre stays stable for a lot longer.

This racetrack is very particular and now they have enough data for understand and Bridgestone have some different options to work with and come back in June with Suzuki and try another time but I am confident that for October we fix that situation and that is the main target of the test so we are happy.

The new bigger tyre is not so bad for me but the other riders do not like it. If Bridgestone is able to make the same size it is more easy for everybody and also for the setting of the bike.

I am in a better shape this year and this pre-season for me is more positive than last year – a lot. I was strong in Sepang 1 and 2 and also faster there and here. Last year I had a lot more problems. I feel a lot better with the bike. We have improved the bike. I have a better feeling so I can arrive more on the limit and also we also work very well in the box with all  the team so my target is to be more competitive than last year. I know is difficult because the level is very high, especially the first three are very strong, but I think we can still battle very well.”

Cal Crutchlow 4th 1:29.606 39 laps 331.3km/h – “It was a so-so day. Our overall lap time we could’ve gone a lot faster, there is no doubt about that, also the bike felt quite affected by the wind today. A lot more than I was expecting. In the end we made a few small changes and we were able to make the bike feel a little bit better. When I did my simulation the wind was really bad. I had to abort the simulation as we had a destroyed front tyre which is ironic. We are here testing rear tyres and the front tyres was completely destroyed. Yesterday we used the harder [front] but today we used the softer one. We didn’t expect the softer one to take chunks off like that.

I was quite disappointed about that. I felt great for 27 laps. I felt good on the bike The consistency was there. The team have done a good job. We chose the wrong rear tyre for the simulation. It was the first time I left the pit on that tyre and I decided I was going to carry on. I should’ve chosen the other rear tyre, that’s for sure. After ten laps I was noticing it but that’s what we are here for; to give Bridgestone the information. I am happy enough with what we came here to test and do and I think Bridgestone have got the information they needed.

I did the simulation on the same tyre as Lorenzo but the other tyre was working better, that is for sure. I am happy enough with the information and everything we gave to Bridgestone. I am just disappointed we couldn’t complete the simulation because the front tyre wouldn’t have lasted one more lap.

I did 20 laps on the other tyre today. This felt a little worse after 15 laps. They are not too dissimilar. I just thought the other tyre would’ve been better.

The bike is tough here in windy conditions. I remember when I rode last year I had trouble in the windy conditions. The guys at Ducati will go back and evaluate what we had. They have got some plans to make the bike better in all the races not just here.

I’m satisfied over three days. I am not satisfied with the lap time. I could’ve gone half-a-second or perhaps three-quarters of a second faster if I wanted to, but we didn’t need to. I think the aim was to test for Bridgestone but at no point did I put a tyre in and push for a lap.”

Andrea Dovozioso 5th 1:30.101 23 laps 335.4 – “I am going home satisfied because with this track normally I struggle, and last year with Ducati I struggle a lot. The feeling was really better. The lap time compared to the competitors, we are not too far. Sure as we know after Malaysia and after here we have a lot of work to do to improve to fight really in the race for the important position but I think we go to Qatar with a better feeling on the bike. We are able to make a good weekend because the comparison is how we finish in Valencia last year so, I am happy.

I think that the tyre we try about the lap time and the feeling and the warm up is really good. I didn’t make a long run so I don’t know for 27 laps will it be alright, but other riders that have made the long run.

The reality is like in Malaysia; we improve the bike, I improve my feeling with the bike. I am able to brake harder and make my entry faster but I believe until we improve the turning point it is difficult to stay in front, because the competitor don’t have a big problem on the bike and the riders are really strong in Yamaha and Honda so to compete with them you need a really good bike, but sure we are going there more competitive. We are able to start quicker, faster, because our gap is small than last year. Last year was really, really, really big. Too big.  My expectations are not unbelievably high for this moment because I know the reality of the bike.

I am happy with the way we improve but we still need a big step to stay in front.

The target of this year is the same as last year and last year I didn’t get to improve the bike. Already we improve the bike a little bit. Sure is not enough and we need we have to improve a lot. This is the target.

Last year we were one and half second slower than the other bikes. When you start to reduce the gap you can start to think about position and strategy. To speak about position is too early and is not the point because with Gigi we start two months ago. We need time, but I think what everybody show in the first test is the reality. We are able to improve because we work together in a logical way and then be optimistic for the future, but not for now.

We didn’t have anything to really test on the bike today. We test a few things and we compared two tyres in this temperature and to confirm again the right tyre. I made that job and that’s it. I think the other riders make a long run so they can have a clear feedback on 27 laps.

Bridgestone has also confirmed that they will be back in June for more testing, this time with the Suzuki squad invited to do the test.

The lanky dynamo Rabat continued his dominance of the four rider Moto2 effort and was ever so tantalisingly close to cracking a 1:31 lap on the 125hp machine.

The Moto2 machines are a work of art and such is there engineering that they can equal the MotoGP machines for corner speed but are sadly lacking in a straight line.

Rabat’s efforts yesterday were even more remarkable as he crashed at Lukey Heights in the morning. This was put down to a mechanical glitch but the other in the afternoon at the exit of Southern Loop, when he got on the gas and was flung over the bars big time, was all his own doing. Cal Crutchlow had a grandstand view of the incident and had to swerve to miss Tito as he lay winded on the track for a few moments, “that was a massive one. Tito didn’t look too badly hurt but the bike looked like a plane crash!”

That was the end of his day as he limped around still smiling and saying, “I feel perfect.” The Mapfre Aspar boys of Terol and Torres were out on track until the 1730 curfew.

The work hasn’t finished for Bridgestone or Dunlop who now have to decipher all the feedback to manufacture tyres that combine all the best elements of the feedback garnered over the three days. All riders and the tyre companies agree that the information will now ensure a tyre that will last the race distances of both classes.

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MotoGP Moto2 Phillip Island Tyre Test 2014 – Combined Times over three days

1 99 J. LORENZO (ESP) Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’29.213 1’29.133 1’29.068 1’29.068 165
2 26 D. PEDROSA (ESP) Repsol Honda Team Honda 1’29.961 1’29.381 1’29.458 1’29.381 0.313 178
3 4 A. DOVIZIOSO (ITA) Ducati Team Ducati 1’29.965 1’29.387 1’30.101 1’29.387 0.319 136
4 46 V. ROSSI (ITA) Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 1’29.730 1’29.516 1’29.554 1’29.516 0.448 216
5 35 C. CRUTCHLOW (GBR) Ducati Team Ducati 1’29.576 1’29.660 1’29.606 1’29.576 0.508 166
6 53 E. RABAT (ESP) Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex 1’32.316 1’32.168 1’32.194 1’32.168 3.100 241
7 36 M.KALLIO (FIN) Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex 1’33.440 1’32.698 1’33.149 1’32.698 3.630 202
8 81 J. TORRES (ESP) Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter 1’34.000 1’33.160 1’32.998 1’32.998 3.930 198
9 18 N. TEROL (ESP) Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter 1’33.290 1’33.014 1’34.443 1’33.014 3.946 197

 

Phillip Island Times put in context
(From our research undertaken through our own archives today – please email corrections if you think there are any errors in the data)

  • 1m27.899 – MotoGP Qualifying Record – Jorge Lorenzo’s pole position time from 2013
  • 1m28.108 – MotoGP Race Lap Record – Marc Marquez (Honda) at Phillip Island last year
  • 1m30.038 – World Superbike Superpole – Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) in 2014
  • 1m30.949 – World Superbike race lap record – Chaz Davies on the Ducati Panigale this year
  • 1m32.075 – 250cc Grand Prix Qualifying record – Marco Simoncelli on a Gilera in 2008
  • 1m32.274 – Australian Production Superbike pole position – Wayne Maxwell (Suzuki) at 2013 MotoGP
  • 1m32.316 – Australian Production Superbike race lap record – Wayne Maxwell (Honda) at 2009 MotoGP
  • 1m32.530 – Moto2 Qualifying record – Pol Espargaro on a Kalex in 2013
  • 1m32.545 – World Supersport pole position record – Sam Lowes (Yam) in 2013
  • 1m32.710 – 250cc Grand Prix race lap record – Alvaro Bautista on an Aprilia RSV250 in 2008
  • 1m32.743 – 500cc Grand Prix lap record Kenny Roberts Jr. (Suz) in 1999 (Roberts led the race early on before a chunking rear tyre caused him to lose pace)
  • 1m32.814 – Moto2 Race Lap Record set by Alex De Angelis (Speed Up) in 2013
  • 1m36.625 – 125cc Grand Prix Qualifying record set by Mika Kallio on a KTM in 2006
  • 1m36.650 – Moto3 Qualifying record set by Maverick Vinales on a KTM in 2013
  • 1m36.915 – Time set on a 1982 Suzuki Katana by Shawn Giles at the 2013 Island Classic
  • 1m36.927 – 125cc Grand Prix lap record set by Alvaro Bautista on a Honda RS125S in 2006
  • 1m37.073 – Moto 3 Race Lap Record set by Alex Marquez (KTM) in 2013
  • 1m38.726 – Sidecar lap record set by Steve Webster and David James in 1999

 

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Bridgestone Report

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Hard (various test compounds – asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 17-33°C; Track 22-52°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Bridgestone completed a successful three-day tyre test at Phillip Island, as the Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP™ met its objective of testing a range of new rear slick tyres to deliver safety, performance and durability for a full race-distance at the Australian Grand Prix in October.

Bridgestone brought two front and eight rear specifications of slick tyre to the test, with six of the rear slick specifications being brand new test tyres developed specifically for the Phillip Island circuit. Five riders; Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi took part in the three-day test, completing a total of 861 laps.

The experimental rear slicks provided for the tyre test featured developments in compound, construction and profile technology in order to find the optimum solution for a circuit that is the toughest on rear tyres on the whole MotoGP™ calendar. The first day of the test was used for initial testing of all six experimental tyres; the second and third days of the test were dedicated to race simulations on the tyres that were more found to be more suitable following analysis of tyre data and rider feedback. Out of the six experimental rear slicks provided, three specifications proved to be more promising both in terms of durability, performance, and rider feedback. These three rear slick options were tested extensively over the final two days of the test and the further positive rider feedback and data analysis acquired on these three options on the final two days means that they will form the basis of tyre development for the Australian Grand Prix in October.

The weather at Phillip Island was changeable over the three days, allowing Bridgestone to acquire tyre performance data in a wide variety of conditions. Track temperatures ranged from 22°C to 52°C and brief periods of rain were recorded on the final day of the test. The lower ambient and track temperatures on the final day of the test were a welcome change, as they allowed the riders to test the tyres in similar conditions to what can be expected for the Australian Grand Prix in October.

Bridgestone now heads to Qatar to support the final MotoGP™ pre-season test of 2014 at the Losail International Circuit from March 7-9.

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “This was a very positive test for Bridgestone as we achieved all our objectives. I would like to thank the riders and teams for all their hard work over the three days, as without them we couldn’t have achieved what we set out to do. Our primary focus was to find some suitable rear tyre options for this circuit, and out of the six experimental rear slicks we provided for the test, three options yielded some very encouraging results. These three rear slick options will now steer development for the race tyres we will provide for October’s Australian Grand Prix and following a successful three days, we are confident of delivering an allocation of tyres that will last the full-race distance while maintaining very high levels of safety and performance.”

Magneti Marelli
Magneti Marelli

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Tito Rabat showing the signs of his Phillip Island scrapes.
Tito Rabat showing the signs of his Phillip Island scrapes.