Le Mans Bugatti Circuit
Stoner smashes lap record on Bridgestone’s new rear tyre to set pole in France
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Soft, Medium
Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium
Casey Stoner continued his domination in France today by securing his third lap record of the season, more than one second faster than the existing Le Mans lap record set by Valentino Rossi in 2008.
Stoner has been at the top of the timesheets all weekend on both the harder and softer option rear slicks, but it was on a harder front and the new soft rear that he set his best time on his penultimate lap of the hour-long qualifying session. His time is also 0.3seconds faster than last year’s pole time set by Rossi.
Marco Simoncelli finished an impressive 0.059seconds adrift of Stoner, whilst Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa finished third and fourth to make an all-Honda top four.
As riders used Bridgestone’s new soft asymmetric rear slick in the closing stages of qualifying, the laptimes tumbled and the top nine riders all went faster than the lap record.
Track conditions today were again good despite an early morning rain shower. The track soon dried and although the morning’s practice session was cold, all the day’s running was dry. The forecast for tomorrow is also good with only a slight chance of rain at lunchtime.
Masao Azuma – Chief Field Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport
“Once again today we could see good laptimes on both the harder and the softer front and rear slicks which is encouraging for varied tyre compound selections in tomorrow’s race, so long as the track stays dry. Casey again proved very fast, and I am impressed that the top nine riders were all able to lap under the lap record. In qualifying the harder front slick was favoured for its increased stability under braking, which is important with the many braking points at Le Mans, and our new soft rear for the extra grip and feeling it gives riders. I am pleased with the performance from this new rear tyre and from rider feedback I can say it is a feasible option for tomorrow’s race with sufficient durability for 28 laps. Some riders started this morning’s running using soft tyres they had used yesterday, with more than race distance, and still consistency and pace were good so I am very happy about this. This afternoon, the track was cooler than yesterday during FP2 yet still the medium compound slicks worked well so I am pleased with our compound selection.”