Stoner stuns with impressive pole in Catalunya Ducati Corse's Casey Stoner has taken an impressive pole position in this afternoon's qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead of Sunday's 25-lap Catalunya GP. Reigning MotoGP champion...
Stoner stuns with impressive pole in Catalunya
Ducati Corse's Casey Stoner has taken an impressive pole position in this afternoon's qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead of Sunday's 25-lap Catalunya GP.
Reigning MotoGP champion Stoner put in a storming lap right at the end of the session, breaking the existing pole position record by seven-tenths-of-a-second. The Honda duo of Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden make up the front row for tomorrow's race.
It is Stoner's first pole of the season, and the second consecutive pole position for a rider on Bridgestone tyres after Valentino Rossi's result in Mugello last weekend. It is also the first time that a Bridgestone-shod rider has taken pole position in Catalunya.
Three additional Bridgestone-shod riders qualified inside the top ten this afternoon with Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen in eighth place, Rossi for Fiat Yamaha in ninth, and Honda Gresini's Alex de Angelis in tenth.
Performance on race tyres in the first part of qualifying gives Bridgestone more reason for confidence ahead of the race, although durability over race distance remains the most crucial element for tomorrow afternoon.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
How would you summarise this afternoon's qualifying hour?
"Firstly, congratulations to Ducati and Casey for an excellent qualifying lap right at the end of the session. It is really great to see them back on pole position. Our other riders fared less well and could not fight for positions on the front two rows, which I am not satisfied with. Our qualifying tyres today were not as good as those of our rivals, as we can see from the timesheets, and it was clearly Casey that made the difference. We have to work harder with all six of our teams to understand how we can improve the situation. Nevertheless we have a second consecutive pole position on Bridgestone tyres, which is something positive that we can take away from this afternoon."
Is the situation better with race tyres?
"Our race tyre performance looks quite encouraging, and I think we are in reasonable shape based on the results we have seen so far. This morning's session was slightly interrupted by a small rain shower, and the track temperatures were quite low. With low grip levels, some riders used slightly softer specification tyres than yesterday but we were still able to look more closely at durability. This afternoon's qualifying session has been more useful because the track was warmer, as it will likely be for the race, and we could see some competitive lap times on race tyres. Mid-range performance has been encouraging but it will be the consistency over the full race distance that will determine the end result tomorrow afternoon. It will be a long, tough race for everyone."
Weather: Dry - Air 24C, Track 37C (Bridgestone measurement)