Stoner pole as top seven under lap record on softer rear slicks
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium, Hard (both asymmetric)
Casey Stoner secured his fourth pole position of the season today in the last qualifying session of the year, and his last with the Ducati Team. Quick all weekend, Stoner's third lap of the 45 minute session was just 0.002seconds from the fastest of the weekend and when he switched to a softer option rear slick at the end of the session, his times tumbled and he finished almost 0.8seconds faster than the circuit lap record.
Fastest for the some of the session was Jorge Lorenzo who ultimately had to settle for second on his Fiat Yamaha machine. The World Champion also used a softer rear slick towards the end of the session to finish 0.3seconds adrift of Stoner. In third place was an impressive Marco Simoncelli who enjoys his first MotoGP front row starting position.
The top seven riders all lapped faster than the existing lap record, indicating how well Bridgestone's softer option rear slicks are performing here at Valencia. Most riders started the session using the harder option front and rear slicks and race pace was good, but after switching to the extra grip of the softer option rears the times really fell.
Track conditions were again good today and as the temperature rose into the afternoon's qualifying riders favoured the extra stability of the harder front slicks. Using the softer rears, laptimes were fast; with the use of Bridgestone's extra soft compound rubber here at Valencia this year the top three were all faster than last year's pole time.
Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department "This morning the riders tested tyre degradation of the softer option slicks and durability over race distance, and some also checked the performance of the harder options even in the cold conditions, when track temperature was just 17 degrees Celsius. Whilst the softer options provided more grip, both specs worked well and we could confirm that even the softer options have good consistency over race distance.
"This afternoon in qualifying many riders checked the harder options for their initial grip performance in the hotter conditions to assess whether they will give a performance advantage over race distance. Finally, the top ten all set their best laptimes using the softer rear and performance was very good with the top seven riders all under the lap record. The top three riders are also all faster than last year's pole time, and we can attribute this at least in part to the extra soft compound rubber we are using in the softer option rear slicks this year. Based on today's result, I can say that the harder option front will be favoured for the race for its added braking stability, whilst rear tyre choices will be more mixed depending on whether riders want the better grip of the softer option or the added stability of the harder."