Bridgestone BT016 review - Jerez

Visordown tests Bridgestone's latest hypersports tyre at Jerez GP circuit.

More than 2800 laps of Jerez were ridden on the new BT016

HYPERSPORTS RUBBER accounts for around 50% of the 3.3 million tyres sold in Europe each year, making it the largest sector in the bike tyre market. Visordown went to the launch of new BT016 sports tyre at Jerez this week to find out what Bridgestone's latest multi-compound rubber had to offer.

Bridgestone have been using multi-compound tyres for over twenty years and the company claim the new BT016 represents their best effort yet. The front BT016 is made up from what Bridgestone calls 3LC (three layer compound) which means the centre compound's harder than the outside to help prolong tyre life, while giving good feedback when the bike's cranked over. The rear BT016 is made up of a 5 layer compound - a firm centre, encased by a softer mid-section designed for maximising drive out of corners and on the outside of the tyre is an edge compound, for when the bike's cranked over at maximum lean. Sounds good enough but does it actually work?

Three-layer front and five-layer rear on the new BT016

Let's put it like this: tyre launches are totally different to bike launches. Around 20 journalists are let loose around a MotoGP circuit on machines ranging from a BMW R1200 to the new 180bhp ZX-10R. That's 20 pumped-up, adrenalin-fuelled, egotistical riders giving it absolutely everything they've got all day long. It's a recipe for utter carnage. But despite the potential for mayhem we found the tyres warmed quickly, delivered consistent lap times and only degraded in performance when the tyre had reached the end of its life - around 1000 miles of hard track use.

Entry speed into the circuit's fast, sweeping bends steadily increased as confidence grew and the lap times dropped. Some of us had a moment or two from the rear end due to getting on the gas too hard, which can happen on any tyre, but the BT016 warns you're asking too much from its steel-belted carcas well in advance with a lazy twitch rather than a vicious snatch. The track performance is so impressive it's hard to believe Bridgestone are marketing the BT016 as a road tyre.

I could try to bamboozle you with the technical blurb thrown at us during the press conference but I reckon the following paragraph sums up Bridgestone's new tyre better than any performance chart:

At the close of play around 2800 laps had been completed by a host of testers ranging from ex-GP Gods to mere mortals like me. That's almost 9000 miles of near flat-out riding, with a generous smattering of panic braking, hefty throttle abuse and a healthy dose of missed apexes in over 30,000 corners. But despite riding as hard as we dared all day long we all kept it sunny side up - no highsides, no lowsides - nothing. That's impressive.

30,000 corners and not one spill - impressive stuff

The new BT016 looks likely to maintain Bridgestone's position in the Hypersports tyre market, as we reckon it's one of the best road-based sports tyres we've tested. We'll give you another report once we've tested the tyre on UK roads in the wet.

If you're a road rider that enjoys a bit of track action every now and again then give a set a go - they're available on the 'net for just over £200 a pair. We reckon you won't be disappointed.

For more info on the tyre BT016 go to:

No chance of wet weather testing at Jerez