Wet start to final event of the season in Valencia Riders endured a wet start to the final race weekend of the season as free practice for Sunday's Valencia Grand Prix got underway at Circuit Ricardo Tormo today. Honda's Dani Pedrosa was the ...
Wet start to final event of the season in Valencia
Riders endured a wet start to the final race weekend of the season as free practice for Sunday's Valencia Grand Prix got underway at Circuit Ricardo Tormo today. Honda's Dani Pedrosa was the quickest Bridgestone-shod rider of the day securing second position on the combined practice standings, just 0.087s off the pace set by Nicky Hayden who was the quickest rider in both morning and afternoon sessions aboard his Honda.
A total of five Bridgestone riders were represented in the top ten with Valentino Rossi in fourth place for Yamaha, Casey Stoner in fifth position for Ducati, Sylvain Guintoli in eighth for Alice Team and Shinya Nakano in tenth for Honda Gresini.
It was a fruitless day of slick tyre evaluation with the track remaining wet for the duration of both sessions, continuing the 2008 season trend of inclement weather. Of the 18 events on this year's calendar, only three have remained completely dry for the entire race weekend - Qatar, Laguna Seca and Misano.
Bridgestone has used the opening day to look at the performance of its wet weather tyre range at this tight and twisty Valencia circuit over the two sessions. Although conditions varied throughout the day, initial performance of the tyres appeared to be reasonable with lap times gradually dropping as the track became less wet towards the end of the afternoon. There remains some likelihood of rain for the remainder of the weekend, so wet tyre performance could yet play a crucial role in the outcome of Sunday's 30-lap Valencia Grand Prix, the culmination of this season's gruelling 18-race championship.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
What has Bridgestone worked on during today's two wet sessions?
"In conditions such as we have faced today, we can work on assessing the durability of our wet weather tyres, even if the level of water on the track varied during the day. We looked at soft and medium specification tyres over the two sessions and I am reasonably satisfied with the balance of consistency and grip. The wear appearance from the tyres appears quite good, so we have a solid base from which we can work should the rain continue over the weekend."
How meaningful is the data accumulated from today?
"We have been able to gather some useful information even in these difficult conditions, on the durability side especially. Tyre performance appeared consistent from full wet to damp conditions and degradation levels seem encouraging for the race distance. As far as I recall we have not a lot of wet track time in Valencia, certainly not in the last few years, so it has been an interesting first experience for us with our latest specification wet weather tyres. Of course we always prefer a dry race and if this is the case it would be beneficial to have some dry running tomorrow, in order to evaluate our slick tyre options for the weekend. If the rain does persist, though, we have some valuable data from today with which we can work."
Session 1 / Wet - Air 16C, Track 13C
Session 2 / Wet - Air 16C, Track 13C