ERJ staff report (TP)
Losail, Qatar – MotoGP racing burst back to life with the first race of the 2014 season, under the floodlights of Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on 23 March.
Bridgestone was in the heart of the action, entering its sixth consecutive season as official tire supplier to MotoGP.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez opened up his 2014 MotoGP World Championship title defence with victory. The Honda ace beat Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi by two-tenths of a second at the checkers. Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, rounded out the podium.
For the first race in Qatar, Bridgestone introduced a new tire colour marking system aimed at increasing spectator involvement with the race.
For the 2014 season, all four slick Bridgestone tires will be colour-coded: green for the extra-soft compound; white for the soft compound; black (no stripe) for the medium compound; and red for the hard compound.
Hiroshi Yamada, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department, said: “With the great impact of MotoGP racing on TV, and more and more fans tuning in to watch races, this new tire marking system will make it easier to understand riders’ tire choices. I believe this will be a welcome change for fans, and will make the sport more attractive to the millions of people watching the action around the globe.”
Twenty-three riders in 13 teams will compete in MotoGP for the 2014 season, which will span 18 races in 13 countries. The first race in Qatar is the only night race on the calendar and sets special challenges for tires. Night-time temperatures are usually quite low, which would suggest using softer rubber compounds, but there is often abrasive sand on the track surface which makes durability a priority.
Shinji Aoki, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division, said: “The combination of low temperature, elevated humidity levels and high abrasion makes it a challenging circuit for tire development. But we have made a big effort to push back the boundaries of motorcycle tire development with our latest range…”
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Press release from Bridgestone