Round 9: Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying Practice
Mugello, Saturday 14 July 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard* (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
* The hard compound rear slick tyre is available in both regular and special constructions at Mugello this weekend.
Weather: Dry. Ambient 30-31°C; Track 49-50°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa produced a spectacular final lap in qualifying at Mugello today to set a new circuit record of 1:47.284 and claim his second pole position of the season.
Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix was extremely close, with the top-five qualifiers covered by just four-tenths of a second and three riders, Pedrosa, Factory Yamaha Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera setting times quicker than the new circuit record that Lorenzo set this morning during FP3. In a day that was dominated by Spanish riders, another Spaniard, Power Electronic Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was the top CRT qualifier and will start twelfth on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Track conditions for both of today’s sessions were dry, with the morning cloud cover keeping track temperatures down in the mid-30°C mark for FP3, before the skies cleared for qualifying to send track temperatures soaring to 50°C. For most teams, the first half of qualifying was used to fine-tune a race setup on the harder rear slick before the softer rear slicks were brought out with approximately twenty minutes left as the focus switched to setting quick lap times in the fight for grid positions. All riders set their fastest qualifying time using a combination of the harder front and softer rear slicks and overall the pace in qualifying was considerably quicker than last year, with the top eight riders lapping faster than last year’s pole position time.
The MotoGP™ riders will be back on track for Morning Warm Up tomorrow at 0940 local time (GMT +2) while the twenty-one lap race gets underway at 1400.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Track conditions today were good with track temperatures reaching a top of 50°C in qualifying and the extra rubber laid down during today’s sessions helping to improve grip levels. Tyre performance throughout the day was positive with very consistent lap times recorded during longer runs on the harder rear slicks, while the extra edge grip of the softer rear slick enabled riders to set incredibly quick times in qualifying, with a new circuit best lap time almost eight-tenths quicker than the previous mark being set.
“We analysed the rear tyres from the race simulations undertaken by riders from the factory and satellite teams yesterday and today, and are happy to report they completed their long runs on the standard construction harder rear slick without any problems. Almost all the riders on works bikes were able to test the special construction rear slick today and once again the feedback on this option was promising, with some riders now considering to use it for the race if track temperatures tomorrow are similar or warmer than they were in qualifying. Also, it seems that based on today’s sessions some CRT riders may also opt for the standard construction harder rear slick tomorrow to ensure more consistent grip throughout the race.”