The final pre-season test concluded in Qatar tonight just three weeks before the Losail circuit hosts the opening round of the 2010 MotoGP World Championship. Bridgestone brought the same slick tyre compounds to the test as will be used for the grand prix, which performed well in
the unique challenges posed by a night race at a track located in the desert.
The circuit was dirty at the start of the test as the surface was strewn with sand, and initially this caused some riders to experience slight graining. This occurs because the sand on the track makes the surface slippery yet abrasive. To tackle this issue Bridgestone supplied teams with the extra hard compound front slick tyre, and the hard compound rear tyre; both harder compounds than were available for last year's Qatar Grand Prix.
The track got cleaner throughout the test, but it was still the harder option front and rear tyres that were favoured for their extra durability and ability to cope with the circuit's abrasive nature. Ducati Team's Casey Stoner recorded the fastest lap of the test, 0.5seconds faster than his best race lap from last season, ahead of Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi. Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso finished third after two days of running.
Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
"During the two days of testing in Qatar we saw good and fairly consistent conditions which allowed us and the teams to gain data on all of the available slick tyre specifications that we will bring to the Qatar GP. Both options of front and rear slick are working well, although almost all the riders preferred the harder options. The track conditions were much improved on the second day because of the cleaning effect of a day's running, but we can see that the track was still not perfect: Casey's fastest laptime was 0.1seconds slower than his qualifying time from last year, and even at the end of the test the harder option tyres were favoured for their extra durability as the track was still quite sandy and slippery. Many riders completed long runs though, and durability was good despite this so I am happy.
"Again in Qatar we offered an experimental front tyre, though a different spec to the one we tested in Sepang. I would like to thank Valentino and the Fiat Yamaha Team for using this tyre in Qatar and providing some very important and valuable data that will not only help shape the future direction of our MotoGP tyre development, but also of our Battlax production tyres."