Tough Afternoon in the Donington Heat Donington Park, Britain -- Sunday 2 July 2006 Bridgestone endured a troublesome afternoon in today's British Grand Prix with John Hopkins the highest placed of the tyre manufacturer's six riders in eighth...
Tough Afternoon in the Donington Heat
Donington Park, Britain -- Sunday 2 July 2006 Bridgestone endured a troublesome afternoon in today's British Grand Prix with John Hopkins the highest placed of the tyre manufacturer's six riders in eighth place. It was an afternoon to forget for Bridgestone after a competitive qualifying session and encouraging free practice times were not replicated in today's thirty-lap race. Most Bridgestone riders found themselves unable to lap inside the crucial 1m29s mark which would have seen them retain pace with the ultimate frontrunners up to the chequered flag.
Hopkins, who posted several 1m29s laps in the early stages including the sixth fastest lap of the race (1m29.578s), was followed past the chequered flag by Ducati rider Loris Capirossi. The Italian battled hard to claim ninth place and seven championship points, which keeps him in the top five in the riders' classification. Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet came home in 12th position, one ahead of the second Ducati of Alex Hofmann, who claimed his seventh points-scoring finish of the season so far. Chris Vermeulen ran in the top seven for the first half of the race but an unscheduled trip to the pits relegated the Suzuki rider to the back of the pack and an eventual 16th position just out of the points. Shinya Nakano was one of only two retirements in the British Grand Prix, his Kawasaki stopping on track just before the halfway point on lap 14.
John Hopkins, Suzuki: "I'm pretty disappointed because I would have like to have finished a lot higher, maybe in the top five or six. It just wasn't on the cards today. I did everything I could and got the maximum out of all that I had today. The Suzuki was working really good and the Bridgestones had been working really well in the early laps. We had a minor difficulty and lost a lot of grip but we just kept at it and tried to pick up as many points as I could. I have got into the top ten and my ultimate goal is to get up into the top five. We just need to keep doing well and firstly we need to get some good points in Germany and then I am really looking forward to my home grand prix in America."
Hiroshi Yamada, Bridgestone Manager Motorcycle Racing: "It is a shame that our race tyres were not competitive enough to allow our riders or teams to get better results in this afternoon's race. Admittedly, Donington has traditionally been something of an awkward track for us, but we honestly expected better results today after some signs of encouragement yesterday. Free practice does not allow us to truly simulate race conditions, so the lap times we saw on Saturday morning failed to show us the full picture of our performance in race trim. In anticipation of a long, tough grand prix this afternoon, we decided together with each of our teams to field a variety of tyre compound combinations in the race, which we now hope will provide us with valuable information for future development at smooth surface circuits like this one. We will continue to ramp up our development in preparation for next year's event, not only here in the UK, but also for Catalunya and Assen where we have also made solid in-roads over the last weeks. A return to form should be expected in Sachsenring in two weeks' time, a venue where we can be more confident of translating our qualifying form into tangible race results."