French GP: Bridgestone Friday notes

Melandri sets Le Mans pace on opening day Bridgestone's preparations for the fifth round of the 2007 MotoGP championship got underway at the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans today with last year's race winner Marco Melandri setting the pace on the ...

Melandri sets Le Mans pace on opening day

Bridgestone's preparations for the fifth round of the 2007 MotoGP championship got underway at the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans today with last year's race winner Marco Melandri setting the pace on the opening day for the Bridgestone-shod Honda Gresini team.

Melandri's best lap time of 1m35.319s was just three-tenths-of-a-second adrift of the existing circuit record lap set last year by Valentino Rossi and just over a tenth quicker than his nearest challenger today, Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

Chinese GP podium finisher John Hopkins finished in fifth position for Suzuki to lead a group of six Bridgestone-equipped riders in the afternoon session's top ten, including championship leader Casey Stoner, Melandri's team-mate Toni Elias, Pramac d'Antin's Alex Barros, Ducati's Loris Capirossi and Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet who takes part in his home GP in Le Mans this weekend.

Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development

What results were obtained from today's two opening practice sessions for the French GP?

"Our initial feelings after today's practice sessions are quite positive but our programme was not as straight-forward as we had hoped. The track conditions in this morning's session were not particularly good; the circuit was quite green and slippery which did not permit us to obtain really representative data. This afternoon, the track had improved but a small shower late in the session prevented us from completing the tyre evaluation programme."

What was the planned test programme?

"We carried out some runs with our medium and soft specification tyres with all of our teams and can say that the early signs are encouraging. However, we have not been able to gather enough data to be able to select the most suitable tyre for Sunday afternoon. We have a bit more work to do in this area tomorrow morning, but so far the tyre performance has been as expected with soft and medium specs front and rear."

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Alex Barros , John Hopkins , Randy de Puniet , Marco Melandri , Dani Pedrosa