Bridgestone press release
Stoner top in qualifying using the new softer rear Bridgestone
Casey Stoner continued his dominant form at Phillip Island today with his fourth consecutive pole position at his home Grand Prix, prompting adoring fans to rename the venue ‘Casey’s Island’. His best lap came using the soft front slick and the softer option rear.
This is the first season that Bridgestone have selected the medium compound (softer option) rear slicks for Phillip Island, and with the temperature this afternoon cooler as the wind picked up, the extra soft compound used in the right shoulders paid dividends. Despite the wind, which was the fastest it’s been so far this weekend, and the fact that the circuit is much bumpier this year, Stoner’s best still dipped under the existing lap record on these softer slicks.
Lining up second on the grid for tomorrow’s 27-lap race is Jorge Lorenzo who also under the softer front and rear slicks, finishing 0.151seconds ahead of Marco Simoncelli who completes the front row. Alvaro Bautista and the Rizla Suzuki squad delivered an impressive performance to seal their highest premier class qualifying result together, and were lying in a provisional third until the closing minutes.
Although the conditions for the hour of qualifying were cooler and the wind stronger, the rain that threatened held off for an uncharacteristic two days of dry and relatively warm running at Phillip Island. If it remains dry for tomorrow’s race, track temperature will be critical in determining tyre choice as so far this weekend all the available compound options have been used to good effect.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“I am impressed with Casey’s pace today, especially given the wind condition this afternoon during qualifying which, on a circuit like this that is very open and exposed, has a significant effect upon the riders. I’d also like to give my congratulations to Alvaro and the Suzuki team for their best premier class qualifying together, in fourth position. Since last year, the pole time is just under 0.2seconds faster despite the wind and bumps, but Alvaro’s qualifying time is 2.5seconds faster than in 2010, showing the level of their improvement. Our softer option rear tyre was well used in qualifying today and showed good pace, but if the race is dry the likely tyre choice will be the soft front and the harder rear. This morning Casey and Marco both completed very nearly race distance on one set and durability was good, and this is the biggest challenge for us and our tyres at Phillip Island because of the severity of the last two corners that generates such high rear tyre temperatures, the highest we see all year.”