Bradl Back on Track
Unlucky in Qatar for the opening of the championship, Stefan Bradl recovered well in Texas. Finishing fourth in the Grand Prix of the Americas, the LCR Honda rider got back on the right track.
Stefan Bradl does well in the United States. Last year, the Elf rider showed his skill at Laguna Seca. This time he shone on the circuit of the Americas. After qualifying for the front row alongside Marquez and Pedrosa, Bradl finished the race at the foot of the podium by winning a fight to the finish with the two Yamaha Tech 3 riders. In Moto2, Tito Rabat confirmed his good start to the season. Despite transmission problems, the rider of the Marc VDS Racing team managed to make it to the second step of the podium. His teammate had to deal with a nasty shoulder pain. Although handicapped at the end of the race, Kallio still managed to take fourth place. In Moto3, the young Livio Loi scored his first points of the season by crossing the finishing line in twelfth position. Miguel Oliveira finished fifth but his teammate Arthur Sissis has yet to cross the finish line. After being hit by Antonelli, the Mahindra driver had to throw in the towel on the first lap of the race.
With the thirteen points he scored in Texas, Bradl wiped clear the bad memories of his fall in Losail to return to the MotoGP championship classification in seventh position. In Moto2, Rabat reinforced his leadership. The winner of the Grand Prix of Qatar is now seven points ahead of Maverick Viñales. Mika Kallio has kept his third position. In Moto3, Miguel Oliveira has slipped to thirteenth position while Livio Loi has edged his fairing into the thirteenth place overall.
This season, Bridgestone has offered the MotoGP riders a new generation of tires, with specially treated casings to prevent them from over-heating. “The Japanese refer to rider safety to explain the introduction of these new tyres,” explains Christophe Bourguignon, the technical director of the LCR Honda team. “We already know the specifications because we used them last year on demanding circuits such as Sachsenring and Phillip Island. Having protection against over-heating means less grip, especially on the maximum lean. We worked on adapting to the new specification last winter. The objective was to find settings so that the new tires could heat up but keep an acceptable level of performance.” The riders also have to modify the way they handle their bikes. “With less grip at maximum lean, the tire accepts less torque,” says Bourguignon. “You have to wait a little longer before opening the throttle and straightening the bike.” Surprisingly, in Texas the MotoGP teams had to use an old-generation medium tire. “We had some production problems,” explained the Japanese manufacturer. Unfortunately it penalized the teams who have been working since the beginning of the year to adapt their bikes to the 2013 casings.