Bridgestone riders lock out front row in Donington Bridgestone-shod riders Casey Stoner (Ducati Corse), Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) and Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) have locked out the three front row positions for tomorrow's British Grand...
Bridgestone riders lock out front row in Donington
Bridgestone-shod riders Casey Stoner (Ducati Corse), Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) and Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) have locked out the three front row positions for tomorrow's British Grand Prix after a highly competitive wet qualifying session at Donington Park this afternoon.
Stoner has been on the pace all weekend in dry and wet conditions, and dominated the qualifying hour today, taking pole position by an impressive margin of almost seven-tenths-of-a-second. It is his second consecutive pole position of the season and the third consecutive pole position for a rider on Bridgestone tyres, after Rossi took the top spot in Mugello, and Stoner's Catalan pole from two weeks ago.
Rossi and Vermeulen enjoyed a close battle for second spot today with Rossi taking the position by just over one-tenth-of-a-second. It is Rossi's fourth front row using Bridgestone tyres, while third place represents Vermeulen's best qualifying result of the season so far. It is the first occasion since last year's similarly wet Assen GP qualifying session, at which Vermeulen took pole, that three Bridgestone riders fill the three front row positions.
Other notable performances from Kawasaki's Anthony West, Rizla Suzuki's Ben Spies, who is making his MotoGP debut as a stand-in for injured Loris Capirossi, and San Carlo Honda Gresini's Shinya Nakano have ensured six Bridgestone-shod riders in the top ten.
With no dry running in either of today's two practice sessions, data from yesterday's rain-free sessions will be crucial if tomorrow's race is held in dry conditions, while wet weather running today will also allow teams and riders to prepare diligently if the wet weather makes a return tomorrow.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
You must be very satisfied with three riders on the front row?
"I am very pleased with the outcome of today's qualifying session and with the overall performance of our wet weather tyres. Casey has been on fantastic form this weekend, and to take pole position with such an advantage is a great achievement. Valentino and Chris also had a competitive session to take second and third places, and it is the first time for almost one year since we have seen our riders complete the first row of the grid. With six riders from five different teams in the top ten shows that our wet tyres work well with a variety of different machinery."
Will the lack of dry running be detrimental in the event of a dry race tomorrow?
"The forecast said that it would rain today, so we carried out our slick tyre evaluation fully yesterday in order to gather as much data as possible. Of course, if the race will be held in dry conditions, as we hear is currently forecast, it would have been preferable to have more dry running today, in order to carry out longer runs. There is a chance we could have a dry warm-up session, but there is only sufficient time to carry out a short run, so tyre performance over the complete race distance will once again be an unknown factor heading into the race itself. Nevertheless, I draw optimism from our consistency in Mugello and Catalunya, and hope we can return to winning ways in Donington tomorrow afternoon, regardless of weather conditions."
Weather: Dry - Air 13o.C, Track 16o.C (Bridgestone measurement)