Bridgestone riders on form in Sepang practice Bridgestone has enjoyed a solid start to the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend with several of its riders setting competitive lap times after the opening two free practice sessions at the...
Bridgestone riders on form in Sepang practice
Bridgestone has enjoyed a solid start to the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend with several of its riders setting competitive lap times after the opening two free practice sessions at the Sepang International Circuit today.
A total of six Bridgestone-shod riders frequented the top ten of the combined standings with 2008 World Champion Valentino Rossi second fastest, setting his personal best in the one-hour morning session. That time was quickest of the session and it was not until the dying moments of the afternoon practice that his benchmark was beaten, albeit by a mere 0.026s, by Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards, who was the fastest man of the day.
Ducati's Casey Stoner, winner of the Malaysian race last year and victor in Phillip Island two weeks' ago, finished in third place three-tenths-of-a-second off Edwards' pace, ahead of San Carlo Honda Gresini man Shinya Nakano. Nakano has been in competitive form throughout the day and set the standard for most of the afternoon session.
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, taking part in his fourth race weekend using Bridgestone tyres, was sixth in the combined table marginally quicker than Loris Capirossi for Rizla Suzuki who took seventh.
Some light rain curtailed running at the start of the afternoon session, but riders were soon back up to speed and most were able to beat their morning best. Tomorrow's practice sessions will be important for Bridgestone to evaluate further the slick tyre selection for the weekend before qualifying tyres are used in the afternoon to determine the grid for Sunday's 21-lap race.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
How were the conditions on the first day of practice today?
"At the start of the morning session, the track was still quite dirty and slippery but after about half of the session the conditions were getting better and better. Consequently most riders set their best time towards the end of the practice. We had some light rain at the top of the afternoon session and it took a large part of the session to get back into a reasonable condition. It has therefore been quite difficult to get any representative data from today, even if initial performance appears to be competitive. We have several riders near the front of the timesheets which is naturally encouraging but I hope there is more to come tomorrow."
What specifications did riders use today?
"Basically most riders used medium and hard rear tyres today and the lap times would suggest that both specifications are working well. Because of the rain we were not really able to carry out a precise comparison of the tyres, so we have to work a bit more than usual on Saturday morning to look more deeply into the performance potential of the tyres, both in terms of outright lap time, but also durability."
Session 1 / Dry - Air 33C, Track 44C
Session 2 / Dry - Air 32C, Track 37C