Pedrosa sets the early pace in Brno as new tyre rules come into effect
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Hard, Extra Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium
Dani Pedrosa led the way in both of today’s free practice sessions, finishing 0.377seconds ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Casey Stoner. In both 45-minute sessions, Pedrosa was the only rider to dip below the existing lap record and actually went faster in the morning; impressive on just the first day of running for the Czech Grand Prix.
Whilst this was the first event at which the new tyre regulations come into effect, offering riders a third and softer compound of front slick for increased safety in the case of colder than expected conditions, the weather today was warm enough for the vast majority of riders to use the original allocation of the hard and extra hard fronts.
Despite very light drizzle that fell at midday, both sessions today were dry and the conditions were good, hence Pedrosa’s lap record pace that came on the extra hard front slick and the soft rear. With the forecast weather being warm and mostly dry, the third option of front slick isn’t likely to be heavily used this weekend with riders favouring the harder compounds instead. Indeed, it is only the third time this season, after Qatar and Germany, that the extra hard fronts have been used such are the demands of this circuit on the front tyres because of the abrasiveness of the tarmac and the elevation changes.
Rear tyre allocation has changed too with riders now able to choose their split of the two available compounds after today’s free practice sessions; either five of the harder and five of the softer, or six of one and four of the other for a total of ten rear tyres. Judging by today’s running, riders are likely to opt for more of the soft compound rear slicks as they were favoured in both sessions.
Behind Stoner, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli was third fastest this afternoon ahead of the Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies. Running resumes tomorrow with another 45 minutes of free practice in the morning before the hour-long qualifying session in the afternoon.
Tohru Ubukata – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Dani’s laptimes today have been very impressive so it is clear that conditions and tyre performance are good here in Brno. We are now bringing the third spec of front tyre specifically for cold weather to improve safety and warm-up performance following rider comments, but today the conditions were as warm as we expected, and very similar to last year, so our original allocation of hard and extra hard was suitable and riders didn’t need to use the softer third spec. I can say so far that the new allocation procedure is working well and rider feedback of the changes is positive.”
FP1: Dry. Ambient 19-22°C; Track 23-27°C (Bridgestone measurement)
BrFP2: Dry. Ambient 23-24°C; Track 31-33°C (Bridgestone measurement)