Bridgestone is to increase the number of tyres and compounds it provides to the MotoGP field from August’s Czech Grand Prix. The change is in response to a large number of crashes in recent events – including a string of falls in Friday morning practice at the Sachsenring this weekend – which have been attributed to cold tyres.
From Brno, three rather than the previous two front tyre compounds will be offered and the front tyre allocation per rider will be increased from eight to nine. There will also be more flexibility in the choice of rear tyre compounds.
Hiroshi Yamada, head of Bridgestone motorsport, said the changes proved that his company was receptive to riders’ concerns.
“When rider comments about warm-up performance started last year, we developed the extra soft compound rubber for the rear tyres to improve the situation,” he said. “Then at the start of this year we already selected softer compound options for five of the first nine races, again to provide tyres that warm-up more quickly.
“Then during the Italian Grand Prix we decided to bring softer spec rears to a further six of the remaining nine races, and with this latest change to our tyre approach we very much hope to arrive at a situation where the riders feel satisfied with the extra tyre choices they have each weekend and more comfortable with additional softer tyres in the cooler morning sessions.
“The introduction of FP1 on Friday morning this year changed the situation for us because conditions are never ideal on Friday morning and this is when we have seen most of the crashes.
“Nevertheless, we take rider safety very seriously and of course we are sorry to have seen the crashes that we have this year and want to avoid such unnecessary occurrences. I hope this fundamental change to the official tyre supplier situation demonstrates that we listen to riders and have long been working towards such a compromise to make them feel safer and more comfortable and confident in the warm-up performance of our tyres.”
Hirohide Hamashima, assistant director of Bridgestone’s motorcycle tyre development division, said more changes were planned for 2012 and that the Brno alterations were an interim solution.
“We realise the need to focus more on the area of warm-up performance, and whilst we continue our development of a new family of tyres for next year which feature a softer construction, these changes that come into effect from Brno are our best effort at reacting as quickly as we can, and in a way satisfactory to all parties, mid-way through the season,” he said.
“The riders have agreed with our proposal so I am confident that the changes will provide them with what they’ve been asking for in terms of a greater number of softer specification tyres each weekend.”