Rossi claims Portuguese podium; Hopkins, Stoner shine Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi took his second consecutive podium result using Bridgestone tyres in today's Portuguese Grand Prix at the Estoril circuit. Having led the race early on,...
Rossi claims Portuguese podium; Hopkins, Stoner shine
Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi took his second consecutive podium result using Bridgestone tyres in today's Portuguese Grand Prix at the Estoril circuit. Having led the race early on, Rossi ultimately finished in third place behind eventual race winner Jorge Lorenzo and second-placed man Dani Pedrosa. The result marks the sixtieth individual podium result for a Bridgestone-shod rider in MotoGP since its entry into the premier-class back in 2002.
Kawasaki's John Hopkins and Ducati's Casey Stoner put in strong performances to claim solid top six results with fifth and sixth positions respectively. Stoner's run was even more impressive since he was battling a loose box from his on-board camera, and he set the fourth quickest lap of the race on the 21st of 28 laps. His time of 1m37.972s was the quickest lap of the race by a Bridgestone rider, just ahead of Rossi who posted a 1m37.975s on lap 17.
Suzuki duo of Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi also took top ten results in eighth and ninth with Honda Gresini's Shinya Nakano rounding out the top ten. A few riders crashed out in the latter half of the race, enabling most riders to make up valuable positions after what has been another difficult Portuguese weekend for Bridgestone.
Light drops of rain fell in the early stages of the race leaving track conditions far from ideal, but wet weather tyres were not required. Most riders opted for medium specification front and rear slick tyres but Stoner, Rossi and Nakano all used a softer spec front while Hopkins enjoyed his strong run to fifth place using a hard specification rear. Bridgestone will stay on in Estoril tomorrow where hopefully dry and settled weather conditions will enable it to carry out extensive testing of race and qualifying compounds and constructions.
Hiroshi Yasukawa - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport
"It was a long and difficult race this afternoon for all our riders and Valentino's third place was a good result for us in these circumstances. John and Casey also showed a fighting spirit to take good points-scoring results for Kawasaki and Ducati, which means we have three different manufacturers using our tyres in the top six today. The continuous support and efforts from our teams and riders this weekend has been greatly appreciated and we hope to return to winning ways very soon."
Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Race Tyre Development
"After this weekend, we can clearly recognise our strengths and our weaknesses. The main area of weakness has been a lack of grip compared to our rivals, but we now have a clear picture and all our staff will immediately work on improving this situation. On the positive side, we could see on Friday morning and again in this morning's warm-up that our wet weather tyre performance is quite reasonable both for the full wet and shallow wet tyres. Fortunately, we have only had three races of this long season but our focus us on recovering and we will work harder to regain the ground to our competitors. We will start from tomorrow's test here in Estoril with an extensive test of race and qualifying tyres."
Valentino Rossi - Fiat Yamaha - 3rd Position (+12.723s from race winner)
"I had a good start to the race and the grip levels at the beginning were good. I tried to save the tyre a bit because I knew it would be difficult in the closing stages of the race, but unfortunately we could not keep the pace of the leading two riders, who were lapping easily in the 1m37s. We still need to work with Bridgestone, especially in the last part of the race, but this is the second consecutive podium in only our third race with the Yamaha-Bridgestone package, so there is reason to be optimistic for the rest of this long season."
Weather: Dry - Air 18C, Track 21C, Humidity 53% (taken from official MotoGP timing)