Stoner continues pole run in Laguna Seca, Rossi second Ducati's Casey Stoner has claimed the top spot in this afternoon's United States GP qualifying session to extend his recent run of pole positions. Stoner has now taken five consecutive pole...
Stoner continues pole run in Laguna Seca, Rossi second
Ducati's Casey Stoner has claimed the top spot in this afternoon's United States GP qualifying session to extend his recent run of pole positions. Stoner has now taken five consecutive pole positions, the sixth in a row for a rider on Bridgestone tyres, in a competitive qualifying hour which saw the top thirteen riders break the existing pole record, set by Stoner in last year's US GP. Stoner's best lap, 1m20.700s, represents a 1.5s improvement over his previous pole record.
Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi took the runner-up spot, his sixth front row start of the season, four-tenths-of-a-second adrift of Stoner, but three-tenths clear of third-placed man Nicky Hayden. Rossi's result makes it only the second occasion this season that Bridgestone-shod riders occupy the front two positions on the starting grid after Donington Park in Britain three races ago.
Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen will start tomorrow's 32-lap Laguna Seca race from eighth position, setting his best time on Bridgestone race tyres, while Alice Team rider Toni Elias was the only other Bridgestone rider to claim a top ten result today. The mid-field was closely-fought with half-a-second separating Jorge Lorenzo in fourth from Ben Spies in 13th with many Bridgestone riders only marginally missing out on higher grid positions.
Bridgestone has continued looking at its race tyre options for Sunday's GP with some encouraging performances by a number of riders in today's practice.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
Are you pleased with the results of qualifying today?
"In general, I am quite satisfied with the qualifying tyre performance today with Casey's pole position and Valentino's second place giving us only our second 1-2 of the year in qualifying. Many of our riders were able to mark a reasonable improvement on their race tyre lap time when using the qualifiers, which is certainly encouraging. The midfield was very close and I think some of our riders were unfortunate not to get higher grid positions today. We still have to work more on the qualifying tyres to allow all our teams to extract the maximum performance, especially when everyone is so tightly-packed."
How is race tyre performance?
"The performance of our race tyres continues to show promise for tomorrow afternoon, and over mid-range runs, the lap times seem quite consistent. I believe our riders have a good idea on what tyres to use in the race if the weather and track conditions are similar to what we have faced today."
Weather: Dry - Air 19o.C, Track 40o.C (Bridgestone measurement)