Bridgestone surprised by COTA front tyre issues

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Bridgestone has admitted it did not expect to see such major front tyre issues during last Sunday’s Circuit of the Americas MotoGP clash in Texas.

Several riders reported excessive wear on the right side of the medium compound front tyre at COTA, with factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi one of the worst hit.

The Italian looked on course for a second successive podium challenge in 2014 when he had to dramatically slow down with a lack of front grip and he eventually finished eighth.

British rookie Scott Redding also had major issues and the Gresini Honda RCV1000R fell out of the points after losing the front in a right-hander in the closing stages of the 21-lap race.

Redding said his tyre suddenly lost performance after seven laps and Bridgestone chief engineer Masao Azuma said the issues had not been anticipated.

Azuma said: “The high abrasion on the right side of the front tyre that some riders experienced during the race was unexpected. There are some sections of the circuit that are quite demanding on the right side of the tyre, but our compound allocation for this race was designed to meet these demands.

“We need to look at all the variables including riding style, machine character and the track condition during the race to work out why we had such high levels of abrasion during the race, and why some riders were affected more than others.

“We can say with confidence that the tyres were not in any way faulty, just that the operating conditions during the race were a lot harsher when compared to last year and the practice sessions earlier in the race weekend.

“As we didn’t see these very high levels of abrasion last year or during practice and qualifying this year, the tyres and race data from the Americas Grand Prix will be analysed at our Technical Centre so that we can find out why this happened.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt