MotoGP's busy summer schedule continues apace this weekend as Donington Park hosts the British GP, round 8 of this season's championship. The forthcoming run of events sees MotoGP visit some of the most frequented race tracks in premier class ...
MotoGP's busy summer schedule continues apace this weekend as Donington Park hosts the British GP, round 8 of this season's championship.
The forthcoming run of events sees MotoGP visit some of the most frequented race tracks in premier class history with Donington, Assen and Sachsenring having held over 100 championship races between them over the years. Donington has held a round of the championship since 1987, and is the British GP venue for the 22nd consecutive time this year.
Last year's wet-drying race saw the first ever Bridgestone-shod victory at Donington with Casey Stoner. Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen finished third to take one of his four podiums of 2007. Suzuki and Bridgestone also scored a podium in 2005, in wet conditions, with Kenny Roberts Jr. Donington remains, however, one of the most difficult tracks on the calendar for Bridgestone. No Bridgestone-shod rider has ever scored a dry-weather MotoGP podium finish, or taken pole position, at the track.
This season's championship is tantalisingly close with Bridgestone-shod Valentino Rossi holding on to the top of the classification with a seven-point margin over Dani Pedrosa. Casey Stoner is in fourth place with just a two point deficit over third-placed Jorge Lorenzo.
Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit
"These forthcoming races will prove important for the championship because there are a lot of points at stake in a short space of time. Donington and Assen are great races with a special atmosphere from the fans, which make the weekends highly enjoyable. We obtained a good result in last year's wet conditions at Donington with Casey winning and Chris in third. It was the first time that a rider on our tyres had won in MotoGP at Donington, so it was an important result. We still have to prove ourselves in the dry conditions, but I believe our technical team has done a great job to improve our performance at this type of circuit, and I look forward to another competitive race weekend."
Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Race Tyre Development
"Donington is one of the circuits that we class as 'slippery' which means a track that does not generate huge amounts of grip. It is not an easy circuit layout because we have many slow-speed right-hand turns which demand good edge grip, while the asymmetric composition of corners means that we need good warm-up performance on the left-hand side, especially through Craner curves, which is the faster, flowing section of the track. The weather at Donington is always difficult to predict, but we should expect cooler temperatures, similar to what we had in Le Mans, so we will bring a new low temperature compound in anticipation of these conditions. We also have a new construction which is designed for further edge grip improvement."
At the end of the first day of free practice, Casey Stoner led the way on wet weather tyres, fractionally quicker than Nicky Hayden. Saturday remained dry, but qualifying was difficult for Bridgestone-shod riders, with Stoner lining up fifth on the grid ahead of Suzuki's John Hopkins. Colin Edwards took pole. Sunday's race started wet with a dry line emerging towards the end of the event, as Stoner dominated to win by almost 12 seconds from Edwards and Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen.