Australian Grand Prix debrief with Tohru Ubukata
Round 16: Australian Grand Prix Post-race debrief
Phillip Island, Tuesday 19 October 2010
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Soft, Medium.
Rear: Hard, Extra Hard (both asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet compounds available:
Phillip Island usually provides mixed weather during the grand prix weekend and this season was no different with rain on Friday that delayed running by two hours and eventually resulted in a wet but drying session, showers that interrupted practice and qualifying on Saturday but then fine weather and the highest temperature of the weekend for Sunday's race.
As expected, the temperature was cold but the new asymmetric rear tyre developed by Bridgestone for Phillip Island, with an extra soft compound right shoulder, performed well.
Casey Stoner was the runaway winner ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, having emerged ahead of his race-long battle with Nicky Hayden.
Q&A with Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
How did the cold conditions affect tyre performance over the weekend?
"Especially on Friday and Saturday morning the track temperature was low, but no lower than we expected so this did not come as a surprise because we believe our spec choice has a wide enough operating range to cover such cold temperatures. The combination of rain, the cold and the high winds made the conditions very challenging for the riders, but we can see from the laptimes that tyre performance was good in all conditions. The left side of the rears were a harder compound to cope with the demands of the fast lefts but the right side of the rear slicks was softer to aid warm-up performance and grip in the cold. Even though tyre temperature was lower than last year, it was still within their wide operating range. It was very tricky in the wet because the ambient temperature was even lower when it rained, but this is why we chose the soft compound wets. Overall, and taking into account rider feedback most of which was positive, I am happy with the performance of our tyres this weekend."
What was the biggest challenge for the tyres over the weekend?
"Phillip Island is an unusual circuit because the difference between the ambient temperature and the tyre temperature, especially in the left shoulder of the rear tyres, is greater than at any other circuit. The ambient and track temperatures were generally low, but the temperature the left shoulders reach are the highest of the season so balancing this was tricky. We use asymmetric rear slicks to manage this balance between warm-up performance in the right with durability in the left of the tyres, but generally wet tyres do not need to be asymmetric because the peak tyre temperature is much lower so the difference between the temperature in each shoulder is much smaller than in the slicks. Because of the nature of this circuit and the fast left-handers though the left side of the wets reached a high temperature and this increased their wear rate and led to some riders feeling that the rear was moving a lot when the track started drying. Slick tyre performance was good as proved by the laptimes, especially Casey's, but I can say that the biggest challenge of the weekend was for the wet tyres in the drying conditions."
How successful were the new rear slicks that used the extra soft compound in the right side?
"I am very happy with the performance of our new asymmetric slicks. We developed them for Phillip Island specifically for the cold conditions that we expected, and in these conditions they provided improved warm-up performance and good grip. I am pleased that we also received great feedback from the riders who all believe they are an improvement on the rear tyres we brought here last year. We will adopt this extra soft compound into the asymmetric rear slicks we will use in Estoril and Valencia because of the cold conditions we expect at each circuit."
More, from a press release issued by Ryan Farquhar's publicist:
Farquhar ends 2010 season with yet more success
Ryan Farquhar wrapped up his superb 2010 racing season at the weekend with yet more success when he took two wins at the annual Sunflower Trophy races at Bishopscourt. Proving he can more than cut it on the short circuits, the KMR Kawasaki rider overcame the considerable challenge of Marty Lennon to take both of the Super Twins races thus meaning he ended the year with a total of 60 race wins from his road racing and short circuit exploits, a phenomenal achievement indeed.
After taking pole position from former National Superstock 600cc Champion Jamie Hamilton by 0.104s, Ryan found himself locked in a superb battle with fellow Kawasaki rider Lennon in the first 9-lap encounter and there was little to choose between the two Kawasaki riders. Positions changed hands with frequent regularity around the 1.82-mile circuit but Ryan was in front when it mattered most and he took the chequered flag and his first victory of the day by just 0.112s. The second race started in similar fashion but, this time, once Ryan hit the front he stayed there and he pulled away on each and every lap to eventually take the win, again from Lennon, by a commanding 6.049s. The two wins meant that Ryan finished third overall in the Irish Short Circuit Championship despite having only contested 4 of the 9 rounds, also winning all 8 of the races he finished.
Speaking later, a delighted Ryan said: "It's great to come here and wrap up the season with another two wins and it's been another terrific year for me. Obviously I'm more of a road racer than a short circuit racer but I can ride on the circuits too and showed that today in the two races. Marty pushed me really hard in the first race and I was really impressed with how he performed especially as I know he's operating on an extremely tight budget. It was nip and tuck all the way but I managed to get by him and take the win, albeit just! The second race was a lot more straightforward and once I hit the front I just concentrated really hard and gradually pulled away. Like I say, it's been a superb season for me and I'd like to thank everyone who's supported me throughout the year particularly all my sponsors, team members and fans."
More, from a press release issued by TwoThre Public Relations on behalf of Waters Racing:
Waters brothers in form at national support races on MotoGP weekend
Waters Racing brothers Brodie and Nicholas Waters posted solid results during last weekend's Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island in the national Supersport support races on 15-17 October.
The Sunstate Motorcycles-supported Victorians finished second and eighth respectively in the lone eight-lap race contested in wet conditions on Saturday afternoon, their race schedule being cut from three races to one for the weekend after rain delayed the international schedule on Friday.
Brodie Waters was a standout in the Supersport race, missing out on victory by just 0.066 after factory Team Suzuki rider Troy Herfoss stole the victory from the 18-year-old on the final lap.
Despite leading six of the eight laps and narrowly missing out on the victory, Waters was pleased with his performance in front of the world's best riders and team's watching on from the MotoGP paddock.
"I lead most of the race so it was disappointing to miss the victory," Waters commented. "I don't know if Troy was just sitting there playing or what, but he was able to come through and win so I had to settle for second. I was disappointed not to win, but it was good for Suzuki to finish first and second with the pair of GSX-R600s in the support race."
Brodie will now head to the season finale of the Australian Supersport Championship at Symmons Plains in Tasmania on 12-14 November, where he hopes to win in a bid to move from third to second in the championship if everything goes according to plan.
"I want to try and win both races at in Tasmania next month and hopefully I can get second in the series behind Troy," he said. "It's going to be a hard task, but it's definitely what I'm aiming for to finish out the season."
Youngest Waters brother Nick made his debut in the Supersport ranks alongside brother Brodie after finishing fourth in the Australian Superstock 600 Championship earlier this season, and posted an impressive eighth in his first Supersport outing.
Nick worked his way up from a 12th place qualifying position to run as high as sixth in the race, eventually settling in for a solid eighth against a field containing far more experience than the talented 16-year-old.
"After practice on my Superstock bike in the wet I was quite happy how free practice had gone so was looking forward to the qualifying session to follow, but after three laps in qualifying I ended up coming off at turn one," Nick reflected. "Starting in 12th position and with the rain coming down, wasn't looking forward to turn one, but we all survived so I put my head down and pushed to the finish line and was happy to finish in the top 10 for my first Supersport race."
The brothers, from Mildura in Victoria, will now focus on the season finale at to be held at Symmons Plains in Tasmania next month alongside the V8 Supercars Championship series for the second two-plus-four event of the season.
PHILLIP ISLAND MOTOGP SUPERSPORT RESULTS:
1. Troy Herfoss
2. Brodie Waters (Sunstate/Waters Racing Suzuki GSX-R600)
3. Mike Jones
4. Blake Leigh-Smith
5. Dylan Mavin
6. Chas Hern
7. Christan Casella
8. Nick Waters (Sunstate/Waters Racing Suzuki GSX-R600)
9. Matthew Walters
10. Jackson Leigh-Smith
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:
Fiat Yamaha's newly crowned MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo finished second and teammate Valentino Rossi finished third in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on Sunday, Oct. 17. The podium finishes give Fiat Yamaha the MotoGP Team Championship to go with Lorenzo's riders' championship, clinched one week ago in Malaysia. Meanwhile, Yamaha Tech 3's Ben Spies finished fifth and teammate Colin Edwards finished seventh, with Spies' hard-fought effort securing him the coveted MotoGP "Rookie of the Year" award. Rossi is now fourth, Spies is sixth and Edwards is 11th in points with two races to go.
After a particularly rainy weekend the weather finally cleared up on Sunday. Lorenzo got a good start into turn one, losing one place to Marco Simoncelli but quickly passing the Italian back to retake second. However, Lorenzo was unable to match race winner Casey Stoner's pace, despite trying his best in the early stages. Once Lorenzo realized he could not catch the Australian he settled into an enjoyable race pace to finish second. However Rossi had a different experience as he dropped to ninth on the first lap, then slowly made his way forward into an exciting last-lap podium battle with rival Nicky Hayden.
"We knew Casey would be hard to beat!" Lorenzo said afterwards. "I really enjoyed riding here and sliding a bit on my M1 it was fun but this was Casey's race today. However today we won the teams' title and this shows what a great season it has been for us all, with everyone working at the maximum." Rossi added, "The podium was the maximum for us but it was still a hard fight to get there. This is my 13th podium in 14 years racing at Phillip Island and I am very proud of this record. I am also happy for Yamaha and for us all for winning the teams' title."
More, from a press release issued by Robert Weaver on behalf of Shawn Higbee:
Higbee Wins Streets of Willow Springs F1 Race on a Buell 1125R
It was a close race from flag to flag on "The Streets," but Shawn rode a perfect race on his Bartels' H-D/Antelope Valley H-D Buell 1125R, holding off Bryce Prince on his Yamaha R6 by .727 seconds.
Higbee commented, "It was a challenging race, I charged every turn and never let up. I figured the tight turn onto the front straight might be my weak point, so I had to spin the tire and square off the corner, then stand it up for the drive onto the straight."
The strategy worked as Higbee's 1125R led the Yamaha for the entire 12-lap Formula One race. And Higbee set the fast lap time for the the race at 1:14.394.
Higbee said, "I'm very proud to put the Buell on top of the box as a way to say thanks to the amazing community of Buell riders who continue to support my race efforts."
In addition to the Formula One race win, Shawn also raced the Buell in two other classes. Due to a red flag during Sunday morning practice, Shawn only had two laps of practice before starting the BOTT Heavyweight race. Luckily, the setup on the Buell was dialed in and he was able to win the race. With only one round left in the season, Higbee is leading in the BOTT Heavyweight championship points.
In the Formula Twins Heavyweight race, Higbee was out front and going for his third win of the day when his front fairing came loose and dropped down on the front fender. Fortunately, the fairing didn't come off completely, but it caused him to drop back to 2nd place and finish the race at a reduced speed.
Shawn is also sponsored by Glendale H-D, Erik Buell Racing, Sport Tire Services, Heroic leathers, Traxxion Dynamics, Penske Shocks, Shoei, Dunlop, CrotchRocket.TV, Vortex, MsXXFast.com, Taylor Made Racing, waterwellnessctr.com, Pit Bull, and badweatherbikers.com.
For more information visit www.Higbee-Racing.com.
More, from a press release issued by Team Daytonasportbikes.com:
Team DaytonaSportbikes.com Racing takes fourth in ASRA Team Challenge GTL at Homestead
Daytona Beach, FL Team DaytonaSportbikes.com Racing took their #386 Suzuki SV650 to a fourth place finish in the 60-lap Michelin Team Challenge GTL class at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, making this their second fourth place finish in as many races this season. A limited budget prevents the squad from competing in the full Team Challenge series run by CCS/ASRA, however, title sponsor OT Training Solutions and DaytonaSportbikes.com forum members contributed to provide the team with funding for the trip to the CCS Race of Champions in Homestead, Florida.
Team DaytonaSportbikes.com Racing was the brainchild of the late David Brichler, owner of DaytonaSportbikes.com, a local sportbike forum based in Daytona Beach, Florida. Unfortunately, Team Captain Brichler passed away on September 17, 2010 after a hard-fought battle with T-cell lymphoma. The team decided to continue his legacy and dream through racing, and worked diligently to get the bike, riders, and crew members to the final Team Challenge race of the 2010 season at Homestead-Miami.
The race started well with rider Joe Fields grabbing a great start from the middle of the grid, but a first-lap red flag brought the bike back in for a splash of fuel and a full restart of the race. Again, Fields started well and laid down some rubber for the first half of the podium chase. However, around the seventh lap, Fields ran wide out of the final corner and hit some curbing on the outside of the track, knocking the team's transponder off of the motorcycle. Thankfully, CCS officials noticed the problem and manually scored the 386 machine until Fields was able to pit and have the transponder replaced.
At the halfway point of the race, the veteran crew performed a quick fuel stop and the DaytonaSportbikes.com SV650 again roared out onto the track, this time with rider Kelly Daniels at the helm. Daniels kept similar pace with Fields, providing consistent times throughout his 20+ lap stint on the motorcycle. Daniels brought the bike to the checkered flag, taking a fourth place finish in the lightweight category.
Newly elected Team Captain Mike Owens stated, "The team did a great job of coming together to battle more experienced and better financed teams and put in a great race. The racers did a great job on the track, and the crew completed a couple of stellar pit stops."
Team DaytonaSportbikes.com Racing would like to thank their sponsors, OT Training Solutions, Arthur Kowitz Realty, Attorney Dave Robinson, Houligan's Irish Sports Pub, NAARDEN Sportbike Super Store, Christian Sport Bike Racing, and PCS Daytona, for their generous support this season. Additionally, the team would like to recognize the support of their forum members and the Brichler family.
The DaytonaSportbikes.com Racing team will continue to participate in the Michelin Team Challenge series in the 2011 season, and looks forward to the first race next year at Roebling Road Raceway in Georgia.