To try to answer the question. The S-03's are a backward step from the S-02's. Bridgestone admit this in private and are now speeding the S-04s into production. I was told by a reliable source that they even looked at bringing back the S-02s. I believe that was not possible because they had moved production for the S-03s to a new plant and the moulds were not compatible.
I have driven both on the same car, doing many miles on them. The S-02s are IMO, better in every way. The overall grip is higher and they are more progressive and predictable at breakaway. The only problem with S-02s is that towards the end of their life they go off very quickly. I got 15K miles from them and they were not as good for the last 4K. I have S-02s on my current car and I will not replace them with S-03s when they die.
i was surprised to hear that a mate of mine got some S02 last month when i couldn't get any back in Nov. It could just be that he looked harder than me, but i wondered then whether they had put them back into production.
Any news on when the S04 will be along?
For the record I quite like my Yoko AVS in the dry. They are crap in the wet though. Claudius (or Krautie or whatever) I know you don't like them but the're OK for a slow driver like me