Stoner ahead in Qatar as Bridgestone accelerates tyre development During the three day night test at the Losail circuit, ahead of the season's opening night race on 12 April, Bridgestone not only gathered valuable tyre compound selection...
Stoner ahead in Qatar as Bridgestone accelerates tyre development
During the three day night test at the Losail circuit, ahead of the season's opening night race on 12 April, Bridgestone not only gathered valuable tyre compound selection data for forthcoming grands prix, but upped its 2010 tyre development programme following the recent FIM regulation changes.
The test offered a chance for the selected soft and medium compound Bridgestone slicks to really prove their capability across a range of different conditions. Despite its desert location, an unusual and heavy downpour on the opening day left areas of the circuit damp and greasy, whilst high winds and a residual layer of sand tested their operating range across an unexpectedly diverse set of circumstances.
Ducati Team's Casey Stoner dominated proceedings, taking the top spot almost one second ahead of Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo. Competition throughout the rest of the field was far closer, with second to tenth positions being separated by just eight tenths of a second.
Sixteen riders completed the final day of testing. Marco Melandri made the first appearance for Kawasaki this season with the newly-formed Hayate Racing team, whilst Grupo Francisco Hernando's Sete Gibernau opted to sit out the test to rest a recent shoulder injury and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa was sidelined after a crash on day two.
Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
"The feedback from the riders over the last three days was positive in what were challenging conditions, and our tyres worked well here.
"Track condition was quite dusty and sandy this time, and as a result of the increased abrasion we suffered slight graining with the soft compound tyre at the start of the test, but the medium compound worked well even in these tough conditions. I am happy about this result as it shows that just two specifications can cover such a range of difficult situations which is exactly what we have worked towards.
"The recent FIM regulation changes have affected our development plan so looking now at development for 2010 is very important. We now have to finish 80 per cent of our development for next season during this winter testing period because in-season testing has been significantly reduced.
"As a result, as well as bringing the soft and medium compound tyres from this year's line-up, we brought some new compounds in development for 2010, where the target is to give the tyres a wider still operating range.
"We have had successful tests both here and in Sepang last month, so we are now in a position to make more precise compound selections for each coming grand prix this season."