The privateers were able to choose from soft or medium specification rear compounds, while manufacturer riders only had the medium and hard compounds available.
Top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro used the softer rubber to qualify an impressive ninth on the grid, out-pacing four manufacturer riders. All of the CRTs choose to race with the softer rear, with Espargaro matching his Qatar result of eleventh.
“The feedback we received on the CRT-specific rear slicks was overwhelmingly positive and all the riders on this specification of machine used their specific soft compound rear slick throughout practice, qualifying and for the race,” confirmed Masao Azuma, chief engineer at Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The provision of slicks to CRT riders that are one step softer than for the works riders is important not just to improve the safety of the CRT riders, but to also give them tyre compounds more suited to the lesser power outputs of their machinery to help them bridge the performance gap to the prototypes.
“The layout of the Circuit of the Americas means having a lower power output is even more of a disadvantage than normal, but the performance of riders like Aleix Espargaro who both qualified and finished the race ahead of some prototype bikes shows that giving the CRT teams tyre compounds more suited to their level of performance is a change for the better.
“We may see at tighter circuits such as Jerez and Laguna Seca that the CRT riders can take another step towards the works bikes in terms of lap time.”
Bridgestone had been planning to use a different tyre marking to distinguish the softer CRT slick from the softer compound used by the manufacturer riders. A different colour seemed likely, but the usual white line was used at Austin.
The same front tyre compounds (soft and medium) were available to all riders at Austin.