Bridgestone qualifiers help Stoner, Melandri to German front row Casey Stoner will start tomorrow's German Grand Prix from the head of the field after a closely-fought qualifying session that saw the eventual front row of the grid separated by...
Bridgestone qualifiers help Stoner, Melandri to German front row
Casey Stoner will start tomorrow's German Grand Prix from the head of the field after a closely-fought qualifying session that saw the eventual front row of the grid separated by a mere 0.013s. It is the third pole position set on Bridgestone tyres this season and the second for Stoner after his pole in Mugello last month.
Honda Gresini's Marco Melandri claimed his first front row result of the season with an excellent third place. The Italian rider is enjoying a competitive Sachsenring event so far, having also set the third quickest time of this morning's free practice session.
A last lap crash for Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet did not deter from a strong fourth place position on the grid, his third top five qualifying result in four races. Just 0.022s adrift is Suzuki's John Hopkins in fifth place. Tomorrow's race will mark the fourth occasion that the Anglo-American starts from fifth spot this season. Pramac d'Antin's Alex Barros equalled his best grid position of the season with eighth place (which he also achieved in China), setting his impressive pace on Bridgestone race tyres early on in the session.
The German summer weather arrived in style today with ambient temperatures nearing 30 degrees Celsius and track temperatures much higher, pushing riders, bikes and tyres to their limits over long runs. With temperature set to soar once more, tyre performance and management is likely to play a decisive role during the 30 gruelling laps that make up Sunday's German GP at the Sachsenring.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport -Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
Are you pleased with the performance of Bridgestone's qualifying tyres around the Sachsenring?
"I am very pleased with the results from this afternoon's qualifying session. Although it is the third time this season that a rider on Bridgestone tyres has taken pole position after Mugello and Assen, it is the first time that we have done so in dry conditions. Track temperatures this afternoon were much higher compared to the rest of the weekend so the grip levels from the asphalt were reduced. This meant that the difference between race tyre performance and qualifying tyres was not as much as usual. Casey and Marco did a great job to take pole and third place, but the lap times were just around three-tenths-of-a-second quicker than we have seen set on race tyres this weekend. The top three were only split by 0.013s and the top sixteen riders all lapped within 0.8s of each other, which is one of the closest qualifying sessions I can remember."
How are the Bridgestone race tyres performing in the heat?
"I am satisfied with the lap times that our race tyres have been able to achieve all weekend with all five of our teams, but the hot weather is certainly going to make for a tough race. Physically it will be very demanding for the riders, but also the machines and tyres will be put under a lot of pressure. The asymmetrical layout of this track puts a great stress on the left-hand side of the tyre which is certainly not helped with the heat, but the lap times today appear to be respectable, the challenge will be to maintain them over the 30-lap race distance."
Riding Perspective - Casey Stoner - Ducati Corse - Pole Position
"The Ducati and Bridgestone qualifiers worked well immediately on the first qualifying run and this pole is a great result. I do not really believe in all this talk of pole jinxes. The last person to win from pole was Loris Capirossi on a Ducati, so I figure that is an indication we can end this particular run. Most people who have had pole position this year have not been especially competitive in race trim, at least not right at the top. The Ducati-Bridgestone package has been very competitive here at Sachsenring all weekend, so let's see if we can get there tomorrow afternoon."