Simoncelli fastest as opening day in Estoril just stays dry
Round 3: Portuguese GP - Free Practice One & Two
Estoril Circuit, Friday 29 April 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
Whilst the weather forecast predicted rain all day, Estoril demonstrated how unpredictable its climate is and both MotoGP free practice sessions remained dry, although the rain came the moment the flag dropped on the premier class this afternoon. Overnight rain left the tarmac dirty and slippery however.
Marco Simoncelli finished the day fastest in both sessions, though it was very close at the front. After the second session, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa were second and third respectively, separated from Simoncelli by just 0.06seconds.
On the dry track, Bridgestone's harder option front and softer asymmetric rear slicks were favoured today by almost all riders. The weather for the rest of the weekend is set to be just as unpredictable as today as rain can quickly blow in from the surrounding mountains, but the soft compound Bridgestone wets are ready and have been selected because Estoril is a particularly slippery circuit in the wet.
We know from past experience that the weather here is unpredictable.
The final free practice session will run at 1010hrs local time tomorrow morning, and for now at least the forecast is for the rain that has now hit the circuit to remain.
Tohru Ubukata - General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
"Many of the teams said they hoped for dry running here in Estoril so they will have got a lot of valuable track time today. The times were good, but at 0.7seconds off the circuit lap record there is clearly more to come if tomorrow's sessions are also dry. We know from past experience that the weather here is unpredictable so I am confident we have chosen the best tyres to cope with all situations we could encounter this weekend. After rain last night the circuit was still dirty for all of today and the circuit grip was low as a result. Also, without much direct sun tyre temperatures were a little lower so this is why almost all riders preferred the softer rear slick. But on the front, riders need good stability under heavy braking from high speed, over 300kmh, so this is why the harder front was favoured. Today was the first use this season of our asymmetric slicks and durability was good with Jorge and Valentino in particular each producing a string of consistent laps."