Simoncelli leads the field on opening day in Germany
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
After the opening two free practice sessions of the German Grand Prix, it is San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli who sits at the top of the timesheets just 0.095seconds ahead of Jorge Lorenzo as the pair traded the top spot for much of the afternoon’s 45 minutes of track time. Simoncelli recorded his best time on his final lap of the session using the softer front and rear slicks.
The morning session was cool and windy and several riders fell foul of the conditions through turns one and eleven, two of only three right-handers in a lap of the anticlockwise circuit. By the afternoon, the air temperature had risen by five degrees Celsius and the circuit condition improved so both grip and laptimes were better, with many riders opting to use the harder compound option slicks right from the start.
Around the 3.67km circuit, the top five riders were split by just 0.429seconds with the Repsol Honda Team trio of Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso finished third, fourth and fifth fastest respectively.
Bridgestone have selected softer rear slick tyre compound options for this weekend in Germany compared to last year, and both specs use the extra soft compound rubber in the right shoulders for the first time at the Sachsenring. This extra soft compound has been selected specifically for its improved ability to warm-up faster, which with only three right-handers in a lap is very important.
By contrast, the hard and extra hard compound front slicks are the same as were used here last year and are required for their added braking stability and wear and graining resistance through the many fast lefts. Germany is an abrasive circuit so wear resistance is important over race distance.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“This morning the conditions were cold and windy, both of which were crucial factors in performance. Riders mostly used the softer spec slick tyres this morning because of the temperature, but in the afternoon when the track warmed the harder option fronts and rears were also used so I am happy with our tyre compound selection for this circuit. Tyre wear appearance is good, and feedback of our softer rear slicks is also positive so I am happy that we made this change to our tyre allocation for this race and that we have provided the riders with something they are happier with. Our front slick options remain the same as last year, when Dani set a new lap record and feedback was good, so I am happy they are the right choices again this season. Marco finished the session just 0.4seconds from the lap record, so if the conditions improve slightly tomorrow, I am confident that with our softer rear slicks the laptimes can be faster this year.”