A new Bridgestone hard compound rear tyre made available during a one-day MotoGP test session at Misano yesterday (Monday) was widely praised by the likes of Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow.
Throughout 2013 riders have predominantly used the soft rear tyre option, with temperatures and conditions preventing the current hard rear from being a viable option.
The new generation hard compound rear tyre is designed to reach optimum working temperature quicker without sacrificing performance and endurance.
Rossi, Crutchlow, Nicky Hayden and Bradley Smith all tested the new spec and while hailing its performance they were equally pleased at the prospect of at least having a choice at races.
Factory Yamaha rider Rossi was notably enthusiastic about the new hard rear, not least because the Italian is renowned for preferring harder compound rubber compared to his rivals.
After finishing third quickest at the test, Rossi told MCN: “We push a lot to have a new hard tyre because already the number of tyres is not a lot and if you can never use the hard one then you can only use half the allocation. For me and my style the hard tyre is very good and I am happy if the hard tyre works because in all my career I have always used the hard tyres and I suffer more with the soft. So it is positive because finally Bridgestone bring an hard tyre that is a clear step and I hope we can use it as soon as possible.”
There has been no indication yet when the new spec hard rear will be made available to race by Bridgestone, but the consensus in Misano was the sooner the better.
When asked by MCN to assess its performance, American Nicky Hayden said: “The new Bridgestone tyre was really positive. It seemed to work pretty good and it could be positive for some tracks later in the year if we can get it. There have been a lot of races this year where we have not even been able to make the hard work.
Edge grip was slightly worse but the stability was there but even the edge grip was enough so we could use it. We didn’t need it here because we got plenty of life out of the soft but we have been asking Bridgestone to improve the hard tyre because many times this year I don't even try it and I haven’t actually raced the hard tyre this year.
I’d like to see them come down on the scale there and make it a bit softer. So for when it is cold in the morning when we need a softer tyre we have one and something for the hard option as well. I did some 34s on the new hard it and that was nearly as quick as I was going on the soft.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Crutchlow set the fourth quickest time at the test and he was also impressed with the updated harder option.
“I did 28 laps on the new tyre and I did my fastest lap right at the end so it was very positive. The tyre was good and it will give us another option in the future. We haven’t used the hard tyre hardly at all because it has been a disaster, but this one was a lot better. A lot of races we don’t even use the hard tyre so it is just a waste because you don’t get the opportunity to use anything other than the soft.
What they turned up with was really good. I’m not sure what anybody else thought but I definitely thought it was better and it was a big improvement from a normal hard tyre. It just feels like it has got more grip than the normal hard tyre. The feeling of the bike is quite good with it and it made the bike stable, “said the former World Supersport champion.
Rookie Smith was raving about the new tyre and praised the efforts of the GP Safety Commission and Bridgestone to unveil a safer and better performing hard rear option.
The 22-year-old said: “Credit to the Safety Commission and Bridgestone because they have worked closely together to come up with a solution and it is a very positive step for the future. They have done a great job and I am really impressed with the performance of it. I am excited to try it in the future because normally we can’t use the hard tyre because of edge grip, so they have taken a good step forward. I rode fast on it and I am happy.”
HRC duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa had such hectic test schedules they never got round to evaluating the new tyre but one rider underwhelmed by its performance was reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo.
He said: “I hear that some riders tried and for them it was a little bit better but for me it was worse. But it was a little bit better than the normal hard tyre, so if this is the new one I think it is a bit better. If we get some graining in the future with the soft one then maybe we can use the hard one to avoid this for the long distance.”