Australian 1-2 as Ducati's Stoner beats Vermeulen to Mugello pole Bridgestone-shod Australian riders Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen have taken pole and second position in this afternoon's unpredictable qualifying with a mixture...
Australian 1-2 as Ducati's Stoner beats Vermeulen to Mugello pole
Bridgestone-shod Australian riders Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen have taken pole and second position in this afternoon's unpredictable qualifying with a mixture of wet, damp and drying conditions. Stoner's best lap was one second clear of Vermeulen after another outstanding run from the current championship leader to claim his and Bridgestone's first pole position of the 2007 season.
Riders on Bridgestone tyres dominated the hour-long session demonstrating the competitive level of performance from Bridgestone's latest range of wet weather tyres on a full wet and damp-drying track. Both Kawasaki riders put in sensational flying laps late in the session to claim their best grid positions of the season with Olivier Jacque in fourth and compatriot Randy de Puniet in seventh. Sandwiched between the Frenchmen were Italians Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri who will start their home GP alongside Jacque on the second row from fifth and sixth positions respectively.
Suzuki's John Hopkins finished the hectic session in ninth place to continue his run of top ten grid slots this season. Rounding out the top ten was Pramac d'Antin's Alex Barros who slotted into tenth place just ahead of his German team-mate Alex Hofmann who will start his 100th GP from eleventh tomorrow afternoon.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport -Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
How would you assess today's results in the dry and wet sessions?
"Similar to yesterday we had another day divided into a dry morning and a wet afternoon which really interrupted the qualifying session. The morning practice was held in slightly warmer conditions than yesterday morning and we used the opportunity to evaluate different specification tyres to those we used on Friday, also including harder specifications. It was a productive session which allowed each of our teams to get a better understanding of the most suitable tyres for tomorrow's race."
Did the wet weather tyres give the expected level of performance?
"We used a variety of our latest generation wet tyres in the qualifying session including soft and medium wets, both of which worked really well whether in the heavier wet or damp-drying conditions. Casey and Chris set their best times comparatively early in the session and were able to take first and second positions. Well done to both of them for these performances, especially Casey for securing his debut pole position on Bridgestone tyres and the first Bridgestone-shod pole of the 2007 season. Qualifying is usually not so important at Mugello because it is a track which encourages passing moves, but to have two Bridgestone riders at front and a further six in the top ten is a really positive and pleasing result for us."
Riding Perspective - Casey Stoner - Ducati Corse - Pole Position
"We really didn't know what the qualifying session was going to do whether it would continue raining or dry up. After my best lap, I came back in and it seemed to be drying up, so I had the intention of waiting until the final ten minutes or so and then going back out. I just started to get ready and it began to pour down so I just crossed my fingers that it would continue. Towards the end conditions were just about there to beat that sort of lap time but luckily we held on and got the pole. In Le Mans I hadn't really had enough time with the Ducati and Bridgestones in the wet conditions so this weekend has been good for us. We have learned a little bit more about getting the bike and tyres to work together in these conditions. We have tried a few different rear wets with Bridgestone this weekend and have definitely made good improvements, so now we have more confidence in the wet and we are pretty happy."
Weather: Wet - Air 19C, Track 22C, Humidity 40%