Stoner takes front row seat for home GP Ducati Corse's Casey Stoner has taken third place in qualifying at Phillip Island this afternoon which will see the Australian take a front row seat for his home grand prix which looks set to be a thriller...
Stoner takes front row seat for home GP
Ducati Corse's Casey Stoner has taken third place in qualifying at Phillip Island this afternoon which will see the Australian take a front row seat for his home grand prix which looks set to be a thriller after today's competitive practice sessions.
It is Stoner's ninth front row start of his championship-winning season and the 60th front row start for a rider on Bridgestone tyres in the tyre manufacturer's comparatively short five-year MotoGP history.
Bridgestone endured a difficult qualifying at last season's Australian GP as its qualifying tyres struggled to keep pace around the complete 4.448km Phillip Island lap, especially through the arduous final left-hand corner heading onto the start-finish straight.
With Stoner on the front row in third, his Ducati team-mate Loris Capirossi taking his equal best qualifying result of the season in fifth, Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet in sixth and Pramac d'Antin rider Alex Barros scoring his best grid slot of the year in seventh, today's results demonstrate clear year-on-year progress.
This afternoon's session has been the first completely dry practice of the weekend so far which has seen intermittent rain showers and gusty winds hamper bike set-up work and tyre evaluation. The dry session has enabled Bridgestone to carry out longer runs with its slick tyres and consistently quick lap times in race trim by several of its teams leave plenty of cause of optimism ahead of tomorrow's race although the unpredictable Phillip Island weather could still play a decisive role.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
What is your assessment of today's qualifying performance?
"The performance of our qualifying tyres is certainly much better than last year in terms of competitiveness and durability over the entire lap. It is, however, clear that we still have a slight deficit to our rivals when it comes to qualifying performance in general, something that we have seen throughout this season. Nevertheless, five riders on our tyres have been able to secure all-important top ten results this afternoon which will set them up well for tomorrow's race and I am more encouraged by the potential of our race tyres."
What tyres did Bridgestone riders evaluate in the practice sessions today?
"This morning we had another rain -hit session which did not yield such representative results, but this afternoon we had our first completely dry session of the weekend and some of our riders were able to put a string of consecutive laps together. We could confirm the consistency and performance of the tyres over around half race-distance with promising results. The forecast appears to be reasonably good for tomorrow with warmer ambient temperatures predicted, but we know the weather is very changeable here so we will make our final decisions close to the start of the race, taking into consideration the track conditions and temperature."