Stoner sets Sachsenring standard MotoGP series leader Casey Stoner got the second half of the 2007 season off to a flying start at Sachsenring today by setting the standard in both of Friday's free practice sessions in preparation for Sunday's...
Stoner sets Sachsenring standard
MotoGP series leader Casey Stoner got the second half of the 2007 season off to a flying start at Sachsenring today by setting the standard in both of Friday's free practice sessions in preparation for Sunday's German GP, the tenth round of this year's championship.
The 3.671km track has recently been resurfaced, offering fresh challenges to riders, teams and tyre manufacturers this weekend. The new asphalt is already up to speed with Stoner lapping 0.6s under the fastest lap from last year's race (1m23.355s set by Dani Pedrosa). Scorching hot conditions are forecast for the rest of the weekend with ambient temperatures likely to top 30 degrees tomorrow and Sunday which could also play a decisive role in tyre performance over long runs on the new asphalt.
Of the eighteen representative lap times set by Stoner during this afternoon's session, seven laps were quicker than the best time set by his nearest challenger. Such was his competitiveness on Bridgestone race tyres this afternoon, Stoner's best lap of 1m22.737s would have actually placed him tenth in last year's qualifying session.
Injured Spanish rider Toni Elias is being substituted at the Honda Gresini team by Italian Michel Fabrizio this weekend, while both of the Pramac d'Antin riders, Alex Barros and Alex Hofmann, have valiantly ridden despite hand injuries today, the former following a crash in morning practice.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
What types of tyres have Bridgestone teams been working on during today's two practice sessions?
"Across our five teams, we have looked at the performance of both medium and hard specification rear tyres during the day with some encouraging results in the conditions we have seen today. Both specifications of rear tyre have performed well, as we can see from the competitive lap times although the track temperatures have been considerably cooler today than we expect to face tomorrow and Sunday. For this reason, I believe we must wait for the hotter weather to come before assessing our potential for Sunday afternoon's race."
How has the new asphalt surface affected the results today?
"The track surface has been completely updated since last year's GP. The overall result seems to be that grip levels are higher and the track is less bumpy than previously. The lap times are certainly at a healthy level already with Casey's best lap time half-a-second or so quicker than the best lap in last year's race. The weekend is still young and the expectant upturn in track temperature could potentially play an important role, but for the opening day, I am quite satisfied. We have started solidly at a track where our tyres have traditionally struggled in the past."
Dry track - Air 17C, Track 19C, Humidity 83% (Session 1)
Dry track - Air 20C, Track 25C, Humi dity 65% (Session 2)