MotoGP stars help Bridgestone launch Battlax

Company introduces racing technology to new road tire

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 19, 2008
Six MotoGP riders, including 2007 series champion Casey Stoner, helped launch Bridgestone’s latest road tire with a week of demonstrations at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain.

A full third of the starting grid from the MotoGP series opener in Qatar participated in the demonstrations. Stoner and Ducati teammate Marco Melandri, Kawasaki’s Anthony West, Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi, Honda Gresini’s Alex de Angelis and Toni Elias of Alice Team each rode on Bridgestone’s new Battlax BT-016 tires. Former MotoGP rider Jeremy McWilliams worked with Bridgestone to prepare each racer’s motorcycle for the demonstrations.

The BT-016 uses MotoGP construction methods to provide a road tire with improved grip performance in braking, cornering and acceleration. It promises to improve handling while maintaining a longer life and producing less noise.

“This new tire sees us transfer tire technology from MotoGP into road bike tires and we are thrilled to have been able to showcase that cross-over by having some of the best riders in the world in Jerez,” says Kenji Shoda, director of consumer products for Bridgestone Europe.

The Ducati duo of Stoner and Melandri were the first to ride, each taking in a few laps on Wednesday.

“Riding on track with Marco and Jeremy, for once without the pressure of the chronometer was good fun,” says Stoner. “My initial impressions of the tire were good and so was my feeling with the 848 which has impressed me with the handling, the power delivery and the stability in braking. It has been a good relax after the excitement of the GP.”

Capirossi had his turn on Thursday and came away impressed.

“The BT-016 is a great tire, and gave me a really good feeling, especially at the front, which works really well and is very stable,” says Capirossi. “The rear grip is also good, and it is the first time that I feel the road tire is similar to the race tire. I felt immediately comfortable. I now need to get some for my own Suzuki GSX-R1000 which I use on the road.”

All six riders will be back on the track in Jerez March 30 for the second MotoGP race.