Stoner leads the way at Le Mans on Friday
Round 4: French MotoGP™ - Free Practice One and Two
Le Mans, Friday 18 May 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry Ambient 15-18°C; Track 17-23°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner continues to assert his dominance by topping both Free Practice sessions and clocking the fastest time of the day at an overcast Le Mans circuit on Friday.
Stoner set his quickest time of 1:33.740 in FP2 to finish the day 0.265 seconds ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo placing third with a best time of 1:34.136.
Persistent cloud cover and wind kept temperatures low throughout the day, with track temperatures during FP1 at 17°C before warming slightly to reach a maximum of 23°C during FP2. With the cold conditions in the morning practice session, all riders opted for the soft compound option for both the front and rear while the slightly elevated track temperatures during FP2 resulted in some riders switching to the medium compound front slick tyre. The soft asymmetric rear slick tyre was used in both sessions and worked extremely well in the frigid conditions, with Stoner’s benchmark lap-time today quicker than the best time in the corresponding session at last year’s French Grand Prix which took place in much warmer temperatures.
The French GP continues tomorrow morning with FP3 scheduled for 1010 local time (GMT+2) with the one hour qualifying session starting at 1355 local time.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Track conditions for Friday were quite cool with track temperatures much lower than they were for last year’s Friday practice at the French GP and so the soft front and rear slicks were chosen in the morning session to give riders better initial grip and warm-up performance.
“As track temperatures increased for FP2, we saw many riders trying out the medium compound front slick tyre for its greater stability under braking though most riders still preferred to run the soft compound rear slick. This combination could be widely used for qualifying and the race if track temperatures are similar to what we had today. In these low temperature conditions the 2012 specification slick tyres are working very well with riders lapping at a good pace despite track temperatures being over 20°C cooler than they were for the same session last year.”