Rain Rewrites Practice Programme in Mugello The Autodromo Internazionale di Mugello played host to a free practice day of two halves today as a torrential lunchtime downpour led to persistently heavy rain throughout the afternoon, limiting ...
Rain Rewrites Practice Programme in Mugello
The Autodromo Internazionale di Mugello played host to a free practice day of two halves today as a torrential lunchtime downpour led to persistently heavy rain throughout the afternoon, limiting MotoGP's twenty riders to just one hour of dry running in preparation for Sunday afternoon's Italian Grand Prix.
Following the rain-soaked race in Le Mans two weeks ago, riders were again confronted with treacherous conditions in the second practice session in Mugello this afternoon. At the end of a frantic wet session, Bridgestone-shod Ducati rider Casey Stoner led the Suzuki duo of John Hopkins and French GP race winner Chris Vermeulen.
It was Hopkins who held the honours of being the top Bridgestone-shod rider in the dry morning session, taking third place ahead of current championship leader Stoner. Three other Bridgestone-equipped riders graced the top ten in the dry with Honda Gresini's Toni Elias in sixth, Pramac d'Antin's Alex Barros in seventh and local hero Loris Capirossi starting his home GP preparations in ninth place.
Bridgestone's five teams were able to make use of the cool but dry morning practice session to evaluate the medium tyre specifications available this weekend, while the wet afternoon session enabled further understanding of the wet tyre performance. With weather conditions remaining unpredictable for the duration of this Italian GP weekend, such an array of data in different condition could prove beneficial.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
How much meaningful running was Bridgestone able to conduct in this morning's dry session?
"This morning's dry weather session was valuable for us to carry out initial runs with our medium specification slick tyres. The weather, although dry, was cooler than anticipated but we were still able to verify that the basic level of performance of the medium compounds was good. In spite of the cooler conditions the lap times were already quicker than at the corresponding time last year and the levels of degradation and warm-up performance were within our expectations."
Was the heavy rain disruptive to the practice programme?
"The weather forecast for the weekend always carries a risk of rain, so it is something we were prepared for and wet tyres had been mounted for our teams yesterday just in case. It is usually preferable to have two completely dry sessions to gain as much data as possible for race preparations, but with the weather so unsettled, it could prove useful to have data from the bikes and tyres in a variety of dry and wet conditions. We used the same specification of wet tyre that we used successfully in Le Mans and we were again able to see a competitive performance."
Dry track - Air 16C, Track 17C, Humidity 59% (Session 1)
Wet track - Air 13C, Track 12C, Humidity 89% (Session 2)