Bridgestone begins Catalan challenge in sweltering Spanish heat Five days since the last race of this MotoGP championship drew to a close in Mugello, preparations today got underway at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain for this ...
Bridgestone begins Catalan challenge in sweltering Spanish heat
Five days since the last race of this MotoGP championship drew to a close in Mugello, preparations today got underway at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain for this weekend's Catalan GP. Bridgestone's five teams undertook the usual Friday workload of bike set-up and initial tyre evaluation with seven riders on Bridgestone tyres ending the day in the top ten of the combined practice sessions.
Suzuki's John Hopkins, who took his joint best result of the season at Catalunya last season, laid down his intentions by setting his fastest lap on his final run of the afternoon to claim the third best time of the day overall just fractionally behind Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi.
Behind Hopkins on the combined timings were championship leader Casey Stoner, local hero Toni Elias for Honda Gresini and Ducati's Loris Capirossi all three of whom posted their quickest times in the morning practice hour. French GP winner Chris Vermeulen set an encouraging seventh best time of the day while Marco Melandri and Alex Barros rounded out the top ten for Honda Gresini and Pramac d'Antin respectively, Brazilian Barros fresh from his podium scoring charge in Mugello last weekend.
Weather conditions were exceptionally hot in this afternoon's practice session with the ambient temperature reaching 33C and track temperature a further ten degrees higher.
Tyre Talk with Junichi Kawajiri - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
Did Bridgestone enjoy a positive first day in Catalunya? "We had a trouble-free first day and worked mainly on checking the compound direction for this demanding circuit in very hot conditions this afternoon. I believe we have found a good direction, but there is important work to carry out tomorrow, specifically with long run tests on our tyres. Tyre longevity and consistency will be very important this weekend and this is the area where we must focus our attention."
What specific challenges do tyre manufacturers face at the Circuit de Catalunya? "The proportion of the lap for which the riders are on the right-hand side of the tyre causes a lot of heat in the tyre and produces one of the highest temperatures of the season. This is a really important factor to consider, especially with the high track temperatures also. For this reason, we have produced a range of hard compound tyres for our riders this weekend. Some of our riders were able to carry out a mid-long run this afternoon, but considering the importance of tyre durability, we will conduct some race length runs tomorrow morning."
Dry track - Air 21C, Track 27C, Humidity 32% (Session 1)
Dry track - Air 33C, Track 43C, Humidity 12% (Session 2)