Bridgestone MotoGP: Czech Republic Debrief Q+A with Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager Motorcycle Sport Ducati Corse's Casey Stoner continued in Brno where he left off in Laguna Seca the previous month with a dominant pole to...
Bridgestone MotoGP: Czech Republic Debrief
Q+A with Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager Motorcycle Sport
Ducati Corse's Casey Stoner continued in Brno where he left off in Laguna Seca the previous month with a dominant pole to flag victory in the Czech Republic Grand Prix last weekend. The Australian rider's performance scored him a seventh win of the season to further extend his championship lead to an impressive sixty points. The only time during the season so far that Stoner has relinquished his grip on the championship was after Jerez GP back in March.
Bridgestone's range of tyres performed well around the lengthy, undulating Brno track for the second consecutive Czech Republic GP win by a Bridgestone-equipped rider. This year, however, success was bolstered by a resounding performance from Suzuki's John Hopkins who used his Bridgestone tyres to good effect to take a MotoGP career-best second position and his second podium of 2007 after China.
Six riders on Bridgestone tyres finished the 22-lap event in the top nine with Hopkins' team-mate Chris Vermeulen cementing his fourth place in the championship with a fine fifth place, Loris Capirossi in sixth, Randy de Puniet in eighth and Alex Barros in ninth. The hard work did not end at the chequered flag with most riders staying on for an extensive two day test, yielding important results for the climax of the 2007 season and beyond. Mr. Yamada, another win for the Casey Stoner-Ducati-Bridgestone package, was this an expected result? "Of course, we always head into each race weekend targeting victories and podiums, but after a one month break between races, and knowing how strong our competitors are, we never underestimated the challenge of Brno. It was just the second time this season that we returned to a track where our tyres had helped a rider to victory in 2006, so it was great to defend that honour with another formidable ride from Casey and Ducati. Additionally, it was a great performance from John Hopkins and the Suzuki team. John was on the pace in every single session and his second position, his best ever MotoGP result, was very well deserved."
Qualifying was another success for Bridgestone in Brno with Casey on pole?
"Casey's pole lap was another outstanding achievement and his best time was three-tenths quicker than everyone else. We had five riders on the front three rows and it is always an advantage to be higher up on the grid in those tense, close opening laps of the race. The qualifying times in Brno were not as quick as last year, but I think this can be attributed to the difference between how the more powerful 990cc machines used qualifying rubber compared to the 800cc bikes. Most riders improved their lap time by over a second on qualifying tyres and there was, I believe, more parity between the performance levels of the three tyre manufacturers' qualifying tyres."
Were there any problems over the weekend or in the race itself?
"We had a trouble-free first day but Brno is such a technical track that the teams used the two opening practice sessions to hone the set-up of the bikes. Although we had done the usual tyre evaluation work, we were not able to carry out any longer race simulation runs in practice. We were therefore pleased to see that the tyres were able to help riders achieve strong points and podium scoring results over the full 22-lap race distance. Our riders had opted for a variety of tyre combinations front and rear, the biggest range of the season, and all three tyres of rear compound - soft, medium and hard - were all represented in the top six, a great overall result.
Bridgestone stayed on for two days' testing after the race - what was learned?
"We tried a lot of new specification tyres in the post race test, both front and rear, with new compound, construction and shapes. We found some promising specifications for later in this season and for the future. It was important to gain this data for our ongoing technical development, so thanks must go to each of our teams for their valuable contribution."