The V02 was born utilising technology and feedback that Bridgestone acquired during their time as the control tyre of MotoGP. With a focus on improving the less than perfect aspects of the V01, without sacrificing in areas where it excelled Bridgestone successfully created one of the best racing slicks available in the New Zealand market.
We wouldn’t expect you to just take our word for it; read below to see what legendary Kiwi motorcycle racer Jay Lawrence had to say about the Bridgestone V02.
In the run-up to the TT, I was given the opportunity to complete a test day on the M1 Motorsports BMW at Manfeild. We had a good temperate Autumn day on a typical Friday test day with a variety of different speed, skillsets and bikes on the track at all times, so not ideal conditions to be making good lap times. Moggy and M1 Motorsports have spent a great deal of time and effort optimising their bike to the Bridgestone V02 slicks, and I was particularly interested in trying this tyre, as it has been a few years since I have ridden Bridgestone slicks, having spent my time on my own Carl Cox Motorsport GSX-R1000 to date on another brand.
A Bridgestone V02 ready for the M1 Motorsports BMW S1000RR
My first thoughts were that the front slick has improved notably in its mid-turn grip since the earlier R09Z and V01 specs I’m familiar with from the past. Bridgestone has always been good at making a tyre that deals well with joint braking and turning loads (trail braking) but compared to others perhaps did not have quite the edge grip, making it harder to get to the exit with the bike pointing up the track for the best exit line. With the V02, this area seems to have been significantly improved, offering mid-turn edge grip right on par with the competition, and a more secure and accurate feeling trail braking than what other common brands offer.
Moving on to the rear, which in the past has been the weakness of the Bridgestone vs alternatives. To my feeling, this is the best area of improvement over past versions. Typically, asking a Bridgestone slick to drive the bike while still in the middle of the corner would result in side slip, and continue into the drive area with wheelspin that wouldn’t provide competitive drive. Again, it feels as though Bridgestone have done a lot of work to bring themselves on par with their competitors, without giving away their original strengths. The V02 rear hooks up much better than the V01 did, staying inline on first throttle touch, and continuing into the middle portion of the exit with predictable slides while providing strong drive. The rear is also not prone to creating suspension pump, unlike other brands, meaning the bike keeps going where you point it. This has the effect of keeping the exits consistent and accurate, which is definitely a strength over others.
The Bridgestone equipped M1 Motorsports BMW S1000RR race bikes
One last area of note. During the day we only used one pair of tyres, which for other brands would be a real issue. The tyres I have been racing in NZ do 8-10 laps well and deteriorate from there, and if you heat cycle by even doing a quick stop in the pits, or back on warmers between sessions, will lose anything up to 1.5 seconds over their 30-40 lap life. On this day, we were doing exits from the pits of about 7-9 laps. On our fourth exit/heat cycle, once I had got comfortable with the bike and made a few small setting changes, I set a best lap only .4 sec behind my own outright best in the past. Making that more remarkable, this was on an open test day with road bikes and classics on the track with me, not an outright qualifying lap with a tow from our NZ SBK champion (my Manfeild personal best being set in qualifying for the Suzuki series 2018 on a pair of brand-new tyres). This best lap was on about lap 30-40 of the day, so was not on a new tyre, and was a pace I was right near for that lap and the next five. This to me proves how affective the Bridgestone’s truly are – the ability to continue to set strong lap times when the tyre is old is something that is pretty unique. As you can see from the photos (below), even at around 50 laps old, the tyres are wearing well and looking good.
All in all, the V02 slicks have really impressed me. Not only have Bridgestone improved their area of weakness by bettering their mid-turn edge grip front and rear to a level they are competitive with all other brands, but they have also done so without compromising the legendary stability and accuracy they have always had. They also have a slick that copes well with heat cycles meaning you get a lot more competitive laps per tyre than others – and all at the best price by far for a race slick in New Zealand.
So, there you have it from the man himself. Jay was so impressed by the Bridgestone V02 slicks looking forward into the 2020 season he will be running them on his GSXR1000.
Below are images of the Bridgestone V02 tyres AFTER 35+ laps on the M1 Motorsports BMW: