Shanghai front row for Rossi and Stoner Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi and Ducati Corse's Casey Stoner used Bridgestone's latest generation rear qualifying tyres to score competitive front row results in this afternoon's qualifying practice at...
Shanghai front row for Rossi and Stoner
Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi and Ducati Corse's Casey Stoner used Bridgestone's latest generation rear qualifying tyres to score competitive front row results in this afternoon's qualifying practice at the Shanghai International Circuit. Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards took pole position.
Rossi will start tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix from second on the grid, his second consecutive front row using Bridgestone qualifying tyres, while Stoner enjoys his debut front row of the season in third place. The Rizla Suzuki MotoGP riders were both also on good form this afternoon with Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen in sixth and eighth positions respectively, their best qualifying showing of the season so far.
It is the first time this season that two Bridgestone riders frequent the front row of the grid and, with three teams inside the top six, the results mark a notable improvement in qualifying performance, with a reduced gap to the pole position time.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
Bridgestone has two riders on the front row, you must be pleased with the results?
"Yes, I am quite happy with the results of this afternoon's qualifying session. We brought new rear construction qualifying tyres for this race, based on encouraging performances in recent post-race tests, and we were able to see some good improvements compared to qualifying in the first three races of the season. Although we were not able to get pole, we have reduced the gap and have three riders in the top six, which is encouraging." Is there more work to be done with this latest spec qualifier?
"The new qualifying tyre has given us valuable data with which to make further developments with all teams for the future. The gap to pole is still several tenths of a second, but we are making progress. Our best qualifying time at this track last season was 1m59.315 and we were able to significantly improve on this. Not all our teams were able to make big improvements in qualifying, so we will carefully look at the reasons for this, but in race trim I think we can be satisfied with all team performances so far this weekend."
And race tyres?
"We finished our slick race tyre evaluation this afternoon and the performance also seems competitive. The overall grip level from our latest compounds has been good, and the durability and consistency appears to be in line with our targets. For dry conditions, I believe we are ready to race, but the forecast is for a wet race day."
How would rain affect preparations?
"The important thing ifwe have rain tomorrow would be to have a wet warm-up session to give the teams an opportunity to set up the bikes for the wet conditions. We have several wet weather options available to our teams. Based on standing water levels and track temperatures we would have a good indication of the preferred wet specification to use, but we would benefit from having some wet track time to find the optimum balance between the tyre and the machine prior to the race."
Weather: Dry - Air 30C, Track 47C (Bridgestone measurement)