Bridgestone press release
Another new pole record falls to Stoner in Aragon
The fifth new pole position record of the season fell today, again at the hands of Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner who in doing so secured his 30th pole position start on Bridgestone tyres for tomorrow’s Aragon GP.
The World Championship leader dominated today’s proceedings, bettering the existing lap record during this morning’s extended 75 minute free practice and going faster still in the hour-long qualifying session to set the pole record. Stoner has claimed all five of the new pole records set this season, and now holds the fastest pole time at nine of the circuits on this season’s calendar.
Dani Pedrosa finished second fastest and was the only other rider under the existing pole record. The Motorland Aragon circuit was brand new to MotoGP last year, so the increase in pace demonstrates the machine development and improvement in track condition in the last 12 months.
Sealing his fourth front row start of the season on his penultimate lap was Ben Spies with teammate Jorge Lorenzo in fourth, ahead of two Hondas in the form of Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli.
With the postponement of yesterday’s second free practice, the qualifying session was the first running for the MotoGP class in the afternoon at this Grand Prix, and owing to the venue’s elevation, the conditions and temperature vary significantly between morning and afternoon. In the warmer afternoon temperatures, the harder option front and softer option rear slicks were favoured for shorter qualifying runs, but the harder rear will likely be the prime choice for tomorrow’s 23-lap race.
Masao Azuma – Chief Field Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport
“Casey’s pole time is very impressive indeed so I must congratulate him and the Repsol Honda Team. Also for Dani’s laptime, as to have one bike under the previous pole position time is good, but for these two to be under it is a very strong showing. Clearly we can see the benefit of last year’s experience at this circuit now and the development of the bikes over the last year. Our tyre options are the same although we have improved the soft compound rear for 2011, and although the track temperature is 15 degrees Celsius hotter than during qualifying last year Casey is almost half a second faster this time.
“The harder front and softer rear compound options were favoured by almost every rider today for their attack laps, but if conditions remain the same the harder compound fronts and rears will most likely be the preferable race tyre choice for their added durability. During tomorrow’s race, tyre management will be critical in determining durability and ultimately the result. With current circuit conditions and track temperature, tyre wear is an important consideration especially for the rear, so those who are able to use their tyres best will have a marked advantage.”