Elias Takes 3rd on Opening Day in Jerez Spanish Honda Gresini rider Toni Elias started his home GP weekend in fine style by taking third place after today's two free practice sessions concluded at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain. Elias...
Elias Takes 3rd on Opening Day in Jerez
Spanish Honda Gresini rider Toni Elias started his home GP weekend in fine style by taking third place after today's two free practice sessions concluded at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain. Elias was one of three riders to lap under 1m41s this afternoon in a closely-packed field which saw little over half-a-second separate the top twelve.
Qatar GP race winner Casey Stoner took his Bridgestone-shod Ducati to fourth spot lapping consistently in the 1m41s bracket throughout the day. The Suzuki duo of John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen continued to show good pace after fourth and seventh-placed results in Qatar two weeks' ago with just 0.060s splitting the pair in seventh and eighth places respectively this afternoon.
Rounding out the top ten, Alex Barros was on the pace for the Pramac d'Antin team, lapping a mere 0.057s adrift of Vermeulen's time. Just behind him came Loris Capirossi in 11th for Ducati and Marco Melandri in 12th for Honda Gresini, both only 0.56s from the fastest time of the day set by Honda LCR's Carlos Checa. Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet and Olivier Jacque were 14th and 19th, Pramac d'Antin's Alex Hofmann was 15th and, making a wildcard entry this weekend, Kousuke Akiyoshi rounded off the list in 20th on his Suzuki. Akiyoshi's participation this weekend ensures that Bridgestone is supplying tyres to more riders than at any other MotoGP event with a total of 11 riders.
Tyre Talk with Shinji Aoki - Bridgestone Motorsport - Assistant Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
What did Bridgestone evaluate with its teams today?
"We did some initial tests with some of the different compounds we have brought here this weekend, with mainly a variety of soft and medium specifications for each of our teams. The results have shown that consistent lap times in the mid-1m41s are possible, but through a combination of the tyres, the bike settings and further improving track conditions, we hope to lower this in tomorrow's practice sessions.
What is the plan for tomorrow morning's practice session?
"We have some important work to carry out in the morning. We will do some long runs with our teams to assess the performance differential and durability of the different compounds and from there the teams will be in a better position to close in on their race tyre choice for Sunday."
What have been the biggest differences between the February test and today's practice sessions?
"The riders have generally reported that there is less grip, even if the track conditions appear to be quite similar to the February test. The weather conditions have been roughly the same with ambient temperatures a bit lower but the track temperature rising above 30 this afternoon. Other than that, I think we have a reasonably good correlation between the data we accumulated at the test and the performance of the tyres here today."