Catalan MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma
Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Last weekend’s Catalan Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was one for the ages, with a thrilling three-way battle for victory between Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi producing one of the most exciting encounters in recent years. Ultimately it was Marquez who claimed victory to extend his perfect record in 2014, with Rossi finishing second and Pedrosa third.
After a hot start to the weekend, temperatures cooled down on Sunday with a peak track temperature of 40°C recorded during the twenty-five lap Catalan Grand Prix.
Q&A with Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
Temperatures on Friday and Saturday were extremely hot, but then we had a cool change on Sunday. Did this have an effect on race tyre choice for riders, and how did it affect tyre performance?
“Although it was cooler on Sunday, this didn’t have a big influence on race tyre choice for riders. With the lack of grip from a track surface that has been heavily utilised for racing, many riders said that the soft and medium rear slicks were working best as they needed the maximum amount of edge grip to be competitive. As a result, no matter what the weather brought on Sunday, almost every rider made up their mind on Saturday which tyres they would use for the race, in the end there were only a couple of late decisions made on the grid regarding which tyre to use. As for tyre performance, the cooler temperatures probably helped as it reduced the potential for the rear tyre to overheat due to spinning. We had a new Circuit Record Lap and overall race time record set during Sunday’s race, so it seems the cooler temperatures allowed the riders to extract maximum performance out of their slick tyres.”
Many riders complained about the grip level of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Considering the lack of grip, are you happy with tyre performance over the race weekend?
“Yes I am happy with how our tyres performed and believe that our tyre allocation had the best balance of grip versus durability. I think our expanded front tyre allocation has allowed riders to better deal with unpredictable track surfaces, but at such a severe circuit for tyres such as the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya we cannot go too soft with our compound allocation as this would affect the durability and heat-resistance of the tyres. At the moment, I think our balance of compounds is working well for the track, as we had record pace over the weekend despite the grip level being sub-standard. However, I heard it was a possibility that the circuit might be resurfaced soon and I think this would be the best option for everyone, as it will improve the grip level of the circuit and also remove the bumps in the braking zones entering the corners, which will make the track safer and more predictable for the riders.”
You provided a new tyre for riders to test at the post-race test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. What is this new tyre and what benefits are you expecting it to provide?
“The new tyre we provided was a front slick using a newly-created compound that we developed following requests from the riders. This new compound sits roughly halfway between our current medium and hard compounds in terms of hardness, and is best suited to circuits which are quite severe for tyres with hard braking zones.
“We expected that this new front slick compound would provide the same high level of braking stability as our current hard rubber compound, but with cornering performance closer to that of our medium compound. Many riders tried this new front slick compound in the Monday test at Montmeló and said it was in improvement over our current hard compound so this is promising news. We will now cross-reference their feedback with the empirical data we collected during the test and make a decision on whether we will introduce this new compound later in the year.”
More, from a press relwase issued by FFX Yamaha:
FFX YAMAHA COME BACK STRONGER AT SNETTERTON
The FFX Yamaha team had their strongest performance of the season at the third round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Snetterton last weekend with TT legend Ian Hutchinson claiming points in both races at the Norfolk circuit.
Hutchinson has been building momentum with the Superbike over the opening rounds and in the first race of the weekend he scored his first points of the season in thirteenth place and with further improvements between the races he came back even stronger in race two. Hutchinson was embroiled in the battle for tenth position in the second race, before claiming his best result of the season with a twelfth place.
In the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship Andy Reid continued his run of podium momentum with a second place finish, narrowly missing out on the victory on the final lap. The podium finish and a crash from closest rival James Lodge now gives the FFX Yamaha rider a 22 point lead at the top of the standings.
Hutchinson said: “We made a massive step forward at Snetterton and we have been able to go from the top 20 to fighting for the top 10 and it feels really sweet! The two races were really satisfying and we have really closed the gap after a tough first day. In race two I struggled to pass Cooper and whilst I was doing trying to do that Josh and Kuba came passed me, but after where we have been in the opening two rounds it was a good result for us and it made it really enjoyable.”
Reid said: “We started with the settings we had used at the pre-season test and as the conditions were different we had to work hard to get it right for the weekend. In qualifying we were on the front row again in third, but I felt like if we had a few more laps we would have had the pace to try and take pole. We were ready for the race and I was in third and saw Kyle getting a gap, so I made a move on Mason and put in some good laps to get the gap down. I knew we had some serious pace but it is a track that is hard to break away, so I then sat behind him. I thought I had done enough and then he came by on the straight; there were a few places where I possibly could have made a block pass but I knew Lodge was out and we would extend our lead in the championship with a second place.”
Team manager Tony Morris concluded: “It was a great weekend for the team, especially for Hutchy to have two point scoring results, which shows that we have moved forward again this weekend. It was a hard start to the weekend with practice and qualifying but he showed determination to fight in the races. Andy again delivered a fantastic performance to be back on the podium and not make any mistakes, which extended his lead in the championship which is what our target was at the start of the event.”
More, from a press release issued by Anthony Alonso's publicist:
Anthony and BayAreaRiderForum.com Racing climbed to 4th in the BSB 125GP Championship
Young-gun American, Anthony Alonso, climbed to 4th place in the highly competitive BSB 125GP Championship standings aboard his BayAreaRidersForum.com racing SP125 Honda at Snetterton this past weekend.
The American, having never been to the technical track, struggled on Friday to come to grips with the layout. But as the weekend progressed he continued to make strides towards the pointy-end of the field. “Friday was very tough for me. In the morning I had to break-in a piston, so I spent most of the time just riding around. But I guess that was ok, since I didn’t really know where I was going” said Alonso.
Come raceday, Anthony’s knowledge of the track was coming together and he set the 3rd-fastest time in morning warm-up. Anthony continued “By Sunday I was feeling more comfortable with the track. Morning warm-up was not too bad. The track was a little slippery, but very manageable. Our race was at 2:50pm and I was ready. I have struggled in the past with starts, so my team and I have been working on those. As the lights went out, I got one of the better starts I’ve gotten and I got going well. Everybody bunched up into T1 and I thought I’d go around the outside. Unfortunately my teammate thought the same thing and we both ended up running too wide and lost a few positions”.
“Anyway, I stayed focused and hung on to group 3. That group had very fast bikes, I kept losing time on straight. The track is split up into 3 sections, and I was around 4 mph slower in each. So I had to push hard in braking to make up the time. Well, eventually that caught up to me and I began to run wide. I settled down and put my best lap of the race on the final lap, without a tow. So I was very proud of that. Knockhill is in one week. It’s another new track, but I’m up for the challenge. I would like to thank my team for doing another great job, Steve and Kevin. And it was awesome to have one of my sponsors watch me ride, Iain Hutton.” concluded Anthony.
Sponsored by BayAreaRidersForum.com racing, and supported by Evolution Motorcycles, Arai, Iain Hutton Race Consultant, SaferMoto.com, Road Racing World, Helimot Leathers and Duncan Macmillan, Anthony is based out of Barcelona, Spain and his goal is to break the Spanish-stronghold in Moto3/125GP Racing. Follow him at www.krazycid.com
More, from a press release issued by Cindy Hill:
Alex McLean, of Norton Manx Racing, successfully completed two back to back weekends at Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin) and Grattan Raceway (Belding, Michigan) winning 16 of 16 races entered in the AHRMA Vintage Road Racing series. The Road America race weekend was June 6-8, and the Grattan Raceway race the weekend immediately following on June 13-15. Alex races two of Rob McKeever's historic Norton Manxes in 4 classes each race day. He raced the 1937 Norton Manx in Pre-40's and Class C Foot Shift, and the 1962 Norton Manx in Classic 60's and 500GP. Both the ’37 and ’62 Norton Manx’s ran flawlessly thanks to the close attention of team owner Rob McKeever, and mechanics Maurice Candy and Nobby Clark. Alex continues to exhibit his ability to outride everyone in his class and in other classes as well.
Norton Manx Racing PR Manager, and Alex's protege', Cindy Hill, finished her 3rd and 4th race weekends on her Honda CB400Four Supersport, at the same races and is already finishing within top 5 for Historic Production Lightweight Novice.
Next race, weekend of July 11-13, will find them at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey.
Alex is sponsored by and thanks Arai Helmets, Avon Tyres, Morris Oil UK and Dainese, with major sponsors Rob and Bob McKeever and Bob Blakely.
More about the Norton Manx Racing team can be found at nortonmanxracing.com.
More, from a press release issued by Pure Action Sports Company:
Pure Action Sports Company was set up this past weekend at the Championship Cup Series 14th Annual Festival of Speed at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, VA racing and vending Hit-Air airbag vests. With beautiful weather and a newly paved track, competitors enjoyed a weekend full of close racing and tough battles.
Young gun Brandon Paasch, #969, took home the win in the USGPRU and MOTO3 classes aboard his Moriwaki 250, and finished 2nd in the expert GTL amongst a field of 24 riders which was stacked with some serious talent. Brandon also took home a 2nd place finish in the combined Thunderbike Ultralight division. Brandon currently leads the season for the overall points in the MOTO3 class.
Tony Leong, #4 (aka PushOneEightSix), finished 6th in the expert ASRA Superstock race aboard his MRP Motorsports race prepped Suzuki GSXR 1000. Tony is also supported by Pure ASC partners Team Pro-Motion Sportbike Club and Michelin USA.
Shannon Schulke, #828, finished 3rd in the Amateur GTU race on his R6. He is currently tied for 1st place in Mid-Atlantic Amateur GTU standings and 2nd place in the Atlantic Amateur GTU.
Pure ASC expert racer Justin Jones, #148, sat out this round due to a mechanical failure with his GSXR 600, but has plans to be back in action at the next round. Justin is currently sitting in 2nd position in the expert Heavyweight Supersport division in the Mid-Atlantic and Atlantic series, and is in 2nd place in the expert Middleweight Supersport Atlantic division.
New to the Pure ASC family, Xavier Zayat, #241, took home wins on his MDM race prepped R6 in the Middleweight GP race and expert ASRA Thunderbike race. Xavier finished 2nd behind some ultra fast talent in the expert ASRA Sportbike race, and also came in 2nd in the expert Middleweight Superbike race.
Pure ASC would like to formally express our condolences to the family and friends of fellow racer Andy White. We've donated the proceeds of our airbag vest sales from this event to Andy's memorial fund. You can go here if you would like to donate http://www.gofundme.com/a1kydw
To learn more about Pure ASC or our Hit-Air airbag protection vests, please visit www.pure-asc.com or www.pure-asc.com