Champion Stoner sets home pace at Phillip Island 2007 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner did it again in Phillip Island this afternoon by topping the opening practice sessions in preparation for this weekend's Australian GP in spite of cool and...
Champion Stoner sets home pace at Phillip Island
2007 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner did it again in Phillip Island this afternoon by topping the opening practice sessions in preparation for this weekend's Australian GP in spite of cool and occasional damp track conditions during the day.
Stoner's best afternoon lap, 1m31.286s, was a slight step back in time over his dominant morning best of 1m31.132s, which represented a notable 0.4s advantage over his nearest challenger today, fellow Bridgestone user Marco Melandri for the Honda Gresini team.
A further four riders on Bridgestone tyres ended the day comfortably inside the top ten with Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet in fifth, Pramac d'Antin's Alex Barros, Ducati's Loris Capirossi and Kawasaki's Ant West al l between 0.8s and 1.3s from Stoner's pace.
MotoGP fever has already started to take hold of Phillip Island with thousands of Australian fans expected this weekend to cheer on the home-grown trio of Stoner, West and Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen, all Bridgestone-equipped riders.
After such a hectic and weather-hit first day, teams, riders and tyre manufacturers will be hoping for consistent weather conditions for the remainder of the weekend since everyone has got to be certain of the tyre choice for Sunday afternoon's race.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
How disruptive was the weather during today's practice sessions?
"We have not had consistent weather conditions today with some dry and some wet running which has resulted in an interrupted and disjointed opening day overall. During this morning's largely damp session, we put some laps on our softer specification wet tyres, but the afternoon session enabled us to get some data from the range of tyres that we have brought here this weekend."
What conclusions could you draw from the day?
"This afternoon we focussed mainly on checking the performance of our medium specification tyres, but the rain shower late through the session prevented us from conducting any meaningful longer runs. However Randy completed a lot of laps in a non-consecutive run this afternoon, which was close to race distance, and this yielded some encouraging results in terms of performance and consistency. Nevertheless, we hope for some better weather conditions tomorrow morning so we can put a consecutive long run together to getter a fuller understanding for the race tyre performance here at Phillip Island this weekend."