Rossi top after last lap effort on opening day in Japan Round 2: Japan - Free Practice Twin Ring Motegi, Friday 24 April 2009 Tyre compounds used: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Soft, Medium Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi finished at the top...
Rossi top after last lap effort on opening day in Japan
Round 2: Japan - Free Practice
Twin Ring Motegi, Friday 24 April 2009
Tyre compounds used: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Soft, Medium
Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi finished at the top of the timesheets after a dry first free practice at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. He headed home Ducati Team's Casey Stoner by just 0.05 seconds with a decisive performance on the last of his 18-lap session. Jorge Lorenzo, who qualified pole here last year, put both Fiat Yamaha machines in the top three at their home grand prix, finishing 0.36 seconds adrift of Stoner.
The race has moved from its usual slot in September to an April date this season, resulting in an air temperature that was eight degrees Celsius cooler than last year, aided by an overcast sky. More importantly, the track temperature recorded by Bridgestone was 19 degrees Celsius cooler than the peak temperature of 41 degrees Celsius seen during qualifying for the 2008 race, leading to some riders struggling with warm-up performance.
The MotoGP field will take to the circuit again tomorrow at 1005hrs local time for the second free practice, for which rain is forecast.
Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
"I am reasonably happy as even though the temperature here today was even cooler than we expected the soft compound slick Bridgestone gave reasonable grip. Some riders did have problems with getting enough heat into their tyres from cold, but then some riders used the medium compound slicks as well so I think this shows that rider style can make a big difference to tyre performance this season.
"In these cold conditions we had no problems with consistency on the soft compound slicks throughout the session. If the weather stays dry I think there must be more of a mix of tyre compound choices for this race than we saw in Qatar, when everyone chose the medium Bridgestones.
"Motegi is a demanding circuit on tyres, featuring hard braking followed by hard acceleration that loads the centre construction of the tyre. There are also eight right hander corners and six left handers, so the right side of the tyre gets worked harder and stays hotter. Turn three is particularly tricky because of the circuit layout, as it is the first left hander after the left shoulder has cooled down along the straight and round the first two corners."
Weather: Dry. Ambient 13o.C; Track 22o.C