Australian GP: Bridgestone Friday practice report

Aussies lead the Bridgestone charge in wet and dry Australian riders Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen were the top performing Bridgestone-shod riders in the opening two practice sessions for Sunday's Australian GP after a mixed day of weather ...

Aussies lead the Bridgestone charge in wet and dry

Australian riders Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen were the top performing Bridgestone-shod riders in the opening two practice sessions for Sunday's Australian GP after a mixed day of weather conditions at Phillip Island.

Stoner led the way in this morning's dry and sunny session with a massive 0.670s advantage over his nearest challenger Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi. Rossi, who clinched the 2008 MotoGP crown with a win at Motegi last Sunday, was in turn three-tenths clear of San Carlo Honda Gresini man Alex De Angelis who completed an all-Bridgestone top three in the dry conditions.

As clouds gathered over the island, rain made yet another unwelcome visit to a MotoGP weekend this season in time for the afternoon practice session, which saw Chris Vermeulen take top Bridgestone rider honours in third position for Suzuki behind wet pace-setter Nicky Hayden and second-placed Andrea Dovizioso. It was very much a day of two halves but with six riders in the top ten in both sessions, Bridgestone's Australian GP preparations have started solidly.

The Phillip Island track is renowned for its technical complexity with the dominance of fast left-hand corners placing a firm emphasis on performance and durability on that side of the tyre. Bridgestone hopes for improved track conditions for tomorrow's practice and qualifying session as it works to extract a performance level from its tyres similar to that seen in last year's Australian event in which Ducati riders Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi took a 1-2 finish.

Tyre Talk with Shinji Aoki - Bridgestone Motorsport - Assistant Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development

What did Bridgestone look at in this morning's dry session?

"In this morning's dry session we got immediately to work looking at several different compounds for this track, and we could quickly find a good direction. This circuit is probably the most severe in the world for the left-hand side of the tyre, so we must carry out some longer runs tomorrow to assess the durability. Today, the wear appearance from the tyres was as expected but the heating process in the tyre is different on non-consecutive runs. When the rider pits in, the tyre naturally starts to cool down, but when completing consecutive laps the heat is prolonged over a greater period of time and affects the tyre much more. This is our main focus and challenge for this track, which is why an analysis over longer runs will be so important."

Are there any concerns over wet weather tyre pace?

"The track's characteristics affect wet tyres in exactly the same way as the slicks on the left-hand side of the tyre. This afternoon, our wet weather tyres generally need a few laps to reach the optimum temperature, but then showed a good level of consistency. We could of course try to find a better lap time by using softer specification wets, but we must consider the durability over the complete race distance. As typical for this season, the rain is following us wherever we go, but hopefully this will make way for better weather tomorrow and Sunday."

Weather:
Session 1 / Dry - Air 21C, Track 27C (Bridgestone measurement)
Session 2 / Wet - Air 14C, Track 14C (Bridgestone measurement)

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Chris Vermeulen , Andrea Dovizioso , Casey Stoner , Phillip Island