Lorenzo clinches Estoril pole on harder front and softer rear slicks
For the second day running in Portugal the rain stayed away from the Estoril circuit despite very ominous weather, and although the morning practice session was damp, the qualifying session was dry.
Jorge Lorenzo used Bridgestone’s harder front and softer rear slicks to secure himself pole position for tomorrow’s race just ahead of Marco Simoncelli. It was Simoncelli who for a long time was dominating the hour-long session and looked to be on course for his first premier class pole, until a crash in the crucial last minutes allowed Lorenzo to get the better of him by just over 0.1seconds.
Despite yesterday evening’s thunderstorms and more overnight rain which left the track damp and dirty this morning, the laptimes were good and Lorenzo’s pole time was just 0.2seconds from the lap record as the times tumbled in the closing stages.
Completing the front row is Dani Pedrosa, who finished just 0.03seconds behind Simoncelli, with Repsol Honda teammate Casey Stoner in fourth. Almost all riders set their best laps on the harder front and all favoured the softer rear slicks. Just two tenths of a second cover the top four which is a good indication that it will be a close-fought race.
Whilst the weather for tomorrow remains uncertain, riders have at least now had the chance to use Bridgestone’s wet tyres this weekend.
Tohru Ubukata – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“This morning’s practice session started with the track 60-70 per cent wet, but conditions were tricky because some parts of the lap were wet and others quite dry which made it very difficult to use the wet tyres correctly. Nevertheless performance was reasonable, what we expected, and Loris and Jorge completed 10 and 11 laps respectively and consistency and wear appearance was good. For the qualifying session, it was dry but the track conditions were not perfect because of the overnight rain and the temperature was cold. Most riders favoured the combination of harder option front and softer rear slicks and I am happy with tyre performance as Jorge’s pole lap was only 0.2seconds from the lap record in less than ideal conditions. We could also confirm race-distance durability of the softer option rear, so if the conditions tomorrow are similar to today the softer rear slick is a viable option for the race.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Soft, Medium
Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard