Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Jorge Lorenzo, last year’s winner here at Laguna Seca, finished the first day of running for the United States Grand Prix fastest overall, just 0.141seconds ahead of Dani Pedrosa. Casey Stoner, who was fastest in the morning’s free practice, finished third fastest a further 0.034seconds adrift.
Distinct groups can be identified from today’s laptimes, with the top three separated by just 0.175seconds, Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively split by just 0.266seconds and seventh to tenth covered by 0.139seconds.
Characteristically for this region, the morning session was cool and started shrouded in mist that comes in from the coast every morning. As the sun emerged the track temperature rose to 35 degrees Celsius by the end of the morning session and to 47 degrees Celsius by the end of the second practice. In total, the track temperature increased by 20 degrees Celsius from the start of FP1 to the finish of FP2.
Consequently, almost every rider favoured the softer option slicks for the duration of the morning’s 45minute run, with only a few riders choosing the harder options towards the end, although with the conditions there was little performance advantage. By the afternoon though, it was the harder option fronts and rears that were clearly the faster options, offering a distinct advantage with the increase in temperature.
Even in the cooler morning conditions, tyre performance was good thanks to the softer rear slicks selected by Bridgestone for Laguna Seca this year. Chosen as part of the continued drive to improve warm-up performance, the softer option asymmetric rear features Bridgestone’s extra soft compound in the right shoulder.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“I can say that we had two good sessions of track-time today. I am pleased with soft tyre performance this morning in the cool conditions and am happy with the way we revised our rear slick tyre options for this race. This afternoon the circuit was much hotter so the harder options were favoured for the attack laps and again performance was good. We could see that Jorge was very consistent throughout the session, and also that Casey set his best lap right at the end which is a good sign for tyre durability in these conditions. The times are close at the front so tomorrow’s session will be very important for the teams to perfect their setups.”