Stoner lights up Losail in first practice session
The first laps of the 2012 season were completed tonight at the Losail International Circuit, with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner taking first place in a session that saw the highly anticipated return of the 1000cc machines to competitive MotoGP™ action.
Stoner’s best time of 1:56.474 saw him finish almost two-tenths faster than Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and a half second ahead of a determined Nicky Hayden aboard the Ducati GP12, though the reigning champion’s time was set on the harder rear tyre, with Lorenzo and Hayden setting their benchmark times on the softer rear option.
With no pre-season test at Qatar this year, teams spent the first session evaluating many front and rear tyre combinations as they unleashed their new 1000cc machines onto the Losail Circuit for the first time. Track temperatures hovered around the 30°C mark for the first practice session, but patches of sand around the circuit made conditions less than ideal for fast running.
The next free MotoGP™ practice session is scheduled for tomorrow evening at 1800 local time (GMT+3).
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“As is often the case at Qatar, track conditions for the first practice session were not ideal today with a lot of sand on the circuit, but the feedback we got from the riders that the 2012 specification tyres were handling the variable track conditions very well.
“Due to the changing track conditions and perhaps also the riders using their new 1000cc motorcycles at Qatar for the first time, there was no preferred front and rear tyre combination among the riders during the first session. Finding a race setup at Qatar can be difficult as the track temperatures during the race can be lower than during practice, so we consider this fact when choosing our tyre allocation and advising teams on what tyre combination might work best for them.”