This weekend MotoGP travels to the United States of America again, this time for the Indianapolis Grand Prix on 30 August. Fewer than two months after the race in Laguna Seca, this is only the second MotoGP visit to the Brickyard, so-called because in late 1909 it was rebuilt using 3.2 million bricks. Bridgestone have chosen to bring asymmetric rear tyres to Indianapolis because of the imbalance between the ten left- and six right-handed corners, most of which are slow and short unlike the generally long and fast lefts.
The circuit is abrasive and durability is the key challenge for tyres so the hard and extra hard compound rears have been selected for the job. Braking stability is also essential due to the multitude of first and second gear corners, meaning that the medium and hard compound front Bridgestone slicks are the two available options.
In the past 100 years, since its first race in August 1909, the circuit has played host to numerous events including Formula One, IndyCar and Nascar, and the track layout reflects this. The MotoGP machines will compete on a mixture of the famous oval, the infield developed for Formula One and a MotoGP-specific first section comprising turns one to four that was laid for last year’s race.
The hastily shortened 2008 race marked Rossi’s seventh win of the season on Bridgestone tyres. It was also the first race on the Japanese manufacturer’s rubber for Dani Pedrosa and the Repsol Honda Team after his sensational mid-season switch. Indianapolis felt the fallout of Hurricane Ike last year as riders battled mixed weather and extreme winds that reached over 60mph. In the end it was these gusts that forced the race to be red flagged on the 21st of the scheduled 28 laps, giving Bridgestone their 11th win from the first 14 races of 2008.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Bridgestone has a great deal of experience at the Indianapolis circuit because of our involvement with the IndyCar Series and the Formula One World Championship, and Valentino won on our tyres last season in the first MotoGP race at the venue, so we have a good track record there. Last year was also an important race for us because it was the first Grand Prix for which we supplied Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. Conditions for the first race at Indianapolis were very hard because of the strong winds and rain from Hurricane Ike, so everyone will be hoping for an exciting race with more normal weather this year. The American market is important for Bridgestone Corporation so it will be a key weekend for us, and one in which I am confident we can play our part in another close and exciting battle.”
Tohru Ubukata – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“Indianapolis is like three tracks in one with the opening section designed for MotoGP bikes, the Formula One infield and the traditional oval course, and there are several surface changes because of this during a lap. The circuit is generally very abrasive although the level of abrasion changes with the surface meaning that our tyres will have to cope with a wide range of track conditions during each lap. The infield offers a succession of slow corners followed by hard acceleration and the circuit is also quite demanding on the front tyre due to some very hard braking points. We have chosen our asymmetric rear tyres for this race because the circuit uses the left side of the tyres much harder than the right sides – there are more left-handers and generally the fastest corners are lefts.”