Bridgestone debrief after the Malaysian GP
An eventful Malaysian Grand Prix weekend resulted in a second consecutive podium finish for Bridgestone-shod Ducati rider Loris Capirossi after his dominant win in Brno back in August.
In Sepang on Sunday, he encountered
stiff opposition from his compatriot Valentino Rossi, with whom he battled head-to-head in a thrilling race from which it was the reigning world champion Rossi who emerged victorious on the final lap. All three Bridgestone teams performed strongly over the weekend, dealing with an unusual array of Malaysian weather along the way…
Mr. Yamada, how pleased were you with the performance of the Bridgestone tyres over the Sepang weekend?
Hiroshi Yamada: "It certainly wasn't a straight-forward weekend with the interference of the tropical rainstorm on Saturday afternoon, but from our performance in race trim, throughout the free practice sessions and in the race itself, we certainly acquitted ourselves well. I was pleased with the performance of our range of tyres, as well as with the professional work of the team in difficult conditions, especially on Saturday."
What was Bridgestone's reaction to the grid being formed by the combined free practice results?
HY: "We found ourselves in a rather strange situation because although the rain had stopped with sufficient time to hold qualifying, there was simply too much standing water on the track. In these circumstances, we rely on race direction to make the most informed decision and safety is always the most important factor.
Was Bridgestone disappointed not to challenge for pole position?
HY: "I think in a normal situation we could have seen a more Bridgestone-led grid, as our tyres suit the Sepang circuit, so we probably missed out on challenging for pole position. Having said that, with the torrential conditions we had, we took consolation from the fact that at least all three of our teams had presence within the top ten of the grid and, more importantly, looked good in race set- up."
Did any riders try the qualifying tyre in Saturday morning free practice?
HY: "The only two riders to attempt a run with qualifying tyres in the morning session were Randy and Loris, although neither used the softest compound available, as we had intended to use those in the afternoon. We took a harder qualifier in the morning simply to set their bikes up for the qualifying session, rather than going for outright lap-times."
Were there any concerns with any of the riders in race trim?
HY: "From the first session on Friday morning, we could see that our tyres were competitive. Loris's best lap in race trim was quicker than his pole position time from 2005 and John, Sete and Shinya were all inside the top ten of the day. We evaluated a range of tyres including the race tyre from Brno which proved equally quick around Sepang. All in all, we had a lot of good options and Saturday morning was used to put our preferred tyres through the required longevity tests to gauge their behaviour over race distance. Loris's thirteen lap run was consistently in the mid-high 2m02s, while Sete and John also put in some good lap times. Then the rain started…"
Was the free practice performance replicated in the race?
HY: "There were no real surprises with the performance of the tyres in the race, although the track temperatures were slightly higher than at any point over the weekend. We noticed some rear wear in the closing stages of the race, which prevented Loris from really making his final assault on Valentino stick in the last lap. Nevertheless, the race pace was similar to that of practice and Bridgestone riders were able to set the quickest, as well as third and fourth quickest laps of the race (Loris, Sete and John respectively)."
All in all, a fitting result?
HY: "I think the end result was a fitting reflection of our performance in Sepang. The win would have been nice, but it was a fantastic race and I am proud that Bridgestone could contribute to such an exciting show."