Barros heads Bridgestone brigade to take Mugello podium
Alex Barros led the Bridgestone brigade in Mugello this afternoon taking an impressive third place to score his debut podium of the season, his first on Bridgestone tyres, and the tenth individual podium result of 2007 for a Bridgestone-shod rider.
The battling Brazilian bumped Ducati Corse's Casey Stoner into fourth spot with just three laps of the race remaining. Stoner retains his lead at the head of the championship but sees his advantage cut to nine points after Valentino Rossi's victory in front of 85,000 passionate Italian fans this afternoon.
Behind Stoner followed a train of Bridgestone-shod riders with Suzuki's John Hopkins finishing fifth, his third top five result of the year so far, Honda Gresini's Toni Elias in sixth, Ducati's Loris Capirossi in seventh, French GP winner Chris Vermeulen in eighth and Italian Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri in ninth.
The weather has been the most influential factor this weekend with dry practice time restricted to just two cool morning sessions. Nevertheless, Bridgestone was able to identify the most suitable compounds for this afternoon's race and the performance level, while not being able to help its riders challenge for Mugello victory, was still on podium pace.
Akira Nishimura - Bridgestone Corporation - General Manager Motorcycle Sport Department
"An excellent performance by Alex Barros this afternoon was rightly rewarded with his debut podium position on Bridgestone tyres, something that is very pleasing. He becomes the seventh Bridgestone-shod rider to take a podium result this season which shows how versatile our tyres are with each of the five teams we are supplying this season. Congratulations to the entire Pramac d'Antin team for an exceptional result and to Ducati for a podium in their home GP. Although he missed out on the podium, Casey Stoner's fourth place keeps him at the head of the championship at this still early stage of the season while many other riders were able to score valuable championship points this afternoon."
Atsushi Tomura - Bridgestone Motorsport - General Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
"This weekend has really been conditioned by the unsettled weather conditions that reduced the amount of running we had in full dry conditions, but I think we can be pleased with the consistency of our tyres this afternoon. We perhaps missed a bit of performance compared to the two leading riders in the middle stages of the race, but we demonstrated that our range of medium compounds were capable of challenging for the podium in Mugello, as shown by Alex Barros's third place result. We would like to thank our teams for another positive technical collaboration in such difficult circumstances this weekend."
Alex Barros - Pramac d'Antin - 3rd Position (+5.956s from race winner)
"I am of course really happy to have achieved my first podium of this season and it has come at the perfect time. Mugello is the home race for Ducati and Pramac, so I am pleased to be able to give them a fitting result. I would like to say thanks to the entire Pramac d'Antin team for a very good job and to Bridgestone for providing me with tyres capable of scoring the podium. After the fourth place we got in Turkey, I have had my share of bad luck in recent races, so it is good to get such a competitive result, also at a circuit I like very much. Now, I hope we can continue to show our competitiveness for the rest of the season."