Bridgestone bounces back with podium clean sweep
Bridgestone-shod Ducati rider Casey Stoner took an emphatic victory at Laguna Seca this afternoon, his sixth win of the season and the seventh win in eleven MotoGP races on Bridgestone tyres. Stoner has dominated the US GP weekend topping every single timed session, setting a new pole position record on Bridgestone qualifying tyres, a new circuit best lap on race tyres in this morning's warm-up session and the fastest lap of this afternoon's race. He now leads the riders' championship by 44 points.
Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen, winner at the French GP earlier in the year, took his third podium of the 2007 season with a well deserved second place this afternoon. He headed home Honda Gresini's Marco Melandri who claimed an heroic third place after his accident in qualifying yesterday afternoon sidelined him from this morning's warm-up session.
The US GP marked the third race this year that riders on Bridgestone tyres have locked out all podium places, equalling the feat set in Turkey and France. Four further Bridgestone-shod riders claimed top ten places today with French Kawasaki rider Randy de Puniet taking a fine sixth place ahead of his team-mate Anthony West who enjoys his best MotoGP result to date in only his fourth race for Kawasaki. Alex Barros finished in ninth place for Pramac d'Antin, while Kawasaki wildcard rider Roger Lee Hayden sensationally took the honour of being the top American rider in the US GP finishing his debut MotoGP event in tenth place.
Today's podium results at Laguna Seca mean that, since its MotoGP debut back in 2002, Bridgestone has now seen riders on its tyres take podium results at every circuit on the current championship calendar with the sole exception of Misano which will hold its debut MotoGP event in September.
Hiroshi Yamada- Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Department "I am very happy with the performance of our tyres this weekend and with the final result. I would like once again to express my congratulations and thanks to the Ducati team and to Casey for another fantastic victory. In addition, I want to express the same sentiments to Suzuki and Chris and to Honda Gresini and Marco for excellent podium finishes. A special mention must also go to Marco for a great effort in spite of his injuries. All five of our teams have performed very well this weekend with Kawasaki able to take three top ten results and Pramac d'Antin also picking up solid results today. It has been important for us to react quickly to the difficult race weekend we experienced in Sachsenring and we have worked very hard all weekend to bounce back. Our development will continue through the next few weeks as we prepare for the final part of this exciting season for Bridgestone."
Junichi Kawajiri - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development "There were a number of different tyre strategies deployed by our five teams this afternoon with different combinations of front and rear, medium and hard compounds, as well as two riders opting to race with our 16'' rear tyre. Casey, Chris and Marco all had different combinations but all three were able to get excellent podium results. Although the hard compound rear was the preferred choice for most of our riders, the Suzuki riders ran a medium compound to good effect, setting the second and third fastest laps of the race. 32 laps of Laguna Seca is a tough technical challenge and I am very pleased that a range of our tyres were able to help our riders be competitive for the entire race and to get such good results."
Casey Stoner - Ducati - Race Winner and Championship Leader "This weekend has been fantastic and the whole package, bike and tyres, has been awesome. We have been the quickest in every session this weekend and we were able to translate that into a strong victory this afternoon. We have also finally broken the pole jinx, which is particularly apt, I think, because the last rider to win from pole position was Loris Capirossi on a Ducati. I'm really stoked with the race, we just went out and tried to replicate the times that we were doing in practice. We were out in front and running consistently. Chris was really fast but I just kept pushing to stay out in front and we were able to come away with the win."