Stoner takes front row for Bridgestone's home GP Ducati rider Casey Stoner has taken second place on the grid for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix after this afternoon's qualifying session at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. It is the Australian's ...
Stoner takes front row for Bridgestone's home GP
Ducati rider Casey Stoner has taken second place on the grid for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix after this afternoon's qualifying session at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. It is the Australian's eleventh front row start of the season.
Four Bridgestone riders secured top six positions for tomorrow's 24-lap race with Valentino Rossi in fourth place for Fiat Yamaha, Dani Pedrosa in fifth for Repsol Honda and Loris Capirossi in sixth for the Rizla Suzuki team.
It is only the second time this season that Bridgestone has such a presence on the front two rows of the grid and the first time in dry conditions, the previous occasion being when Bridgestone riders locked out the front two rows of the Brno grid after a wet qualifying session. Today's qualifying results also represent an improvement over Bridgestone's performance in last year's Motegi qualifying in which Randy de Puniet was the highest qualifier in fourth place for Kawasaki.
Casey Stoner and pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) were the only riders able to set a qualifying time today quicker than that of last year's pole time with Stoner's best lap of 1m45.831s marking a 1.3 second improvement over his own qualifying lap from 2007.
Bridgestone has also been able to make good use of today's dry and sunny conditions to evaluate its slick race tyres with some promising lap times set by Stoner, Rossi, Pedrosa and Capirossi who were also among the top six riders on race tyres in this morning's free practice hour together with Lorenzo and Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden who qualified third.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
What are your thoughts on qualifying?
"Our run of consecutive pole positions has come to an end, but I am nevertheless quite satisfied with the results of this afternoon's qualifying session. Casey claimed another excellent front row and set a best lap time quicker than last year's pole position time which is very pleasing. We have a total of four riders in the top six which will be good for the race. We tried a new qualifying compound today which some riders were able to derive benefit from but it did not give everyone the expected level of performance. Unfortunately, there was a lot of traffic at the end of the session which prevented many riders from improving their time on the final run."
How is the pace on race tyres?
"We have had good weather today and this has allowed us to put a lot of laps on the race tyres. We looked at medium and hard specification slick tyres in the warmer conditions that we have faced and the performance has been quite consistent. The competition is extremely close and the battle for the front positions will be tough in the race. Some riders have put over a race distance on the tyres today, although not on consecutive laps, so durability will hopefully not be a concern. Of course the race is a different matter entirely, but we have several riders near the front of the grid who should all have the pace to fight for the podium tomorrow."
Weather: Dry - Air 22C, Track 38C (Bridgestone measurement)