Stoner heads Bridgestone trio in Motegi practice Ducati's Casey Stoner topped the opening day of free practice for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, heading a trio of Bridgestone-shod riders with Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa in second and Fiat...
Stoner heads Bridgestone trio in Motegi practice
Ducati's Casey Stoner topped the opening day of free practice for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, heading a trio of Bridgestone-shod riders with Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa in second and Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi in third place.
It was something of an inconclusive opening day for Bridgestone at their home grand prix after mixed weather at the Motegi Twin Ring circuit today. This morning's opening free practice session was held on a wet-damp track while this afternoon's session led to drier conditions and the opportunity for slick tyres to be used.
In spite of the changeable conditions, four additional Bridgestone riders achieved top ten results today. Three-time Motegi maestro Loris Capirossi set the fifth fastest time of the day for Rizla Suzuki just ahead of Alice Team's Sylvain Guintoli in sixth position. All four Ducati machines were represented in the top half of the timesheets with Marco Melandri in eighth place and Toni Elias in ninth for the Ducati and Alice teams respectively.
Rossi and Stoner were equally competitive in the morning's wet/damp conditions, but lost out on the top spot to Repsol Honda man Nicky Hayden. The difficult nature of the circuit due to the weather prevented Bridgestone from conducting a decisive analysis of either wet or slick tyres and the tyre manufacturer hopes for a more stable day of weather tomorrow.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
Would you say that was an encouraging start for Bridgestone's home grand prix preparations?
"I would say that it has been quite a difficult day to draw any concrete conclusions because of the inconsistency of the track conditions in both sessions. This morning started off wet and was slowly drying in places, while the afternoon hour was held on a largely dry track, which continued to dry out during the session. We could get some understanding of the performance of our standard wet tyres in damp conditions in the morning, but the track was not consistent enough to gauge the full level or potential."
Could Bridgestone assess slick tyre performance at all in the afternoon?
"The majority of riders started the afternoon session using slick tyres and steadily picked up pace as the track improved. The rain did not leave the track in such a good condition so it was difficult to carry out our usual tyre evaluation programme. Riders used soft and medium specification slicks and there were nevertheless some pleasing performances from Casey, Dani and Valentino to take the top three positions, starting our home grand prix in a very satisfactory way. Loris and Sylvain also made the top six with some strong runs, so it was good to see five Bridgestone riders in the top six. We hope for more consistent and improved track conditions tomorrow so that we can get a fully representative picture of our tyre performance for the rest of the weekend."
Session 1 / Wet - Air 21C, Track 24C (Bridgestone measurement)
Session 2 / Dry - Air 23C, Track 25C (Bridgestone measurement)