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Jul 1, 2009

Bridgestone: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Circuit Not Easy On Tires

Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 8:
United States, Laguna Seca

Tyre compounds available:
Front: Medium, Hard.
Rear: Medium, Hard

Round eight of the MotoGP season may be one of the shortest races on the calendar, but the revered and challenging Laguna Seca circuit, home to the infamous Corkscrew, doesn't give Bridgestone's tyres an easy time. Unlike most circuits visited by the championship, Laguna Seca consists mainly of left-handers, having seven left and four right corners, but turns three and four in particular are crucial to a good lap. The first right hand corners of the lap, they are fast and quite long, meaning that tyre temperature in the right shoulders of the Bridgestone tyres is crucial in obtaining optimum grip.

Laguna Seca has a very short straight at just 0.9km long, meaning that the tyres are rarely upright. This puts constant load on the tyre shoulders and therefore requires good durability and endurance over the 32 laps of race distance. It also means that the tyres have less time to cool down, which they traditionally do along the straights when the air flow is at its peak and the tyre shoulders are not loaded, so average tyre temperatures over a lap are higher than the ambient conditions would suggest.

The United States Grand Prix is the second in a pair of back-to-back races, coming just days after the Dutch GP. The circuit was the venue of arguably the most memorable battle of last season between Bridgestone riders Valentino Rossi of the Fiat Yamaha Team and Ducati Team's Casey Stoner that proved pivotal in the championship fight.

Last year the race was a good one for Bridgestone. Stoner secured pole with Rossi starting the race from second, and the Australian set the circuit's MotoGP lap record during the race. Bridgestone riders filled the top three spots Rossi triumphed in his epic battle with Stoner, and Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen took third, equalling his best finish of the season.

Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport Manager Motorcycle Sport Unit

"Last year we saw a fantastic battle in Laguna; one that will still be remembered vividly by those in the paddock, the fans across the world and of course Valentino and Casey! This year the fight at the top of the championship is even closer so I am looking forward to another classic battle on a classic race track. Our tyres performed well there last year, so I hope that now all riders are using Bridgestone tyres we can see even closer competition throughout the field."

Tohru Ubukata Bridgestone Motorsport Manager Motorcycle Race Tyre Development

"The Corkscrew complex is famous and is a really demanding corner for the bike, rider and tyre package, but the right-handed turns three and four are also critical for tyres. Most of the corners are left-handers, so it's important to make sure we also generate good grip through the right-handers.

"Laguna Seca is the shortest race track that we visit during the season at just 3.610km but this makes it no less challenging for the Bridgestone tyres. The 32 laps of competition on Sunday are a good challenge for our tyres as the usually hot track temperature can have a large impact upon tyre performance and durability. Even though the total race distance is nearly the shortest of the season, Laguna is a track that uses our tyres quite hard and demands a lot from them."