Stoner starts 2008 in style with Qatar win Reigning MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner began his title defence in characteristic style with an impressive victory in Qatar on Sunday aboard his Bridgestone-shod Ducati. The win gives Stoner an ...
Stoner starts 2008 in style with Qatar win
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner began his title defence in characteristic style with an impressive victory in Qatar on Sunday aboard his Bridgestone-shod Ducati. The win gives Stoner an eleventh MotoGP career victory and takes to twenty-one the total number of Bridgestone-shod wins in MotoGP. It was also the third season in a row that a Bridgestone-shod Ducati rider has taken the first win of the year.
Stoner's victory was another sublime performance in spite of challenging night-time track conditions at the Losail International Circuit which have made for a difficult weekend for Bridgestone. Nevertheless, Stoner defied the odds to set the quickest lap of the race, an impressive 1m55.153s, similar to the time he set on Bridgestone race tyres in Saturday free practice, which marked a massive 1.4s improvement over his existing lap record from 2007.
In his debut race using Bridgestone tyres, Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi scored a hard-fought fifth place, while Loris Capirossi took an equally determined eighth place in his first race for Suzuki.
Qatar has never been an easy venue for Bridgestone and this weekend has been no exception with a fundamental lack of grip in the cooler night-time conditions. Bridgestone will use the valuable lessons learned from this weekend to further develop its low temperature compounds, as well as its qualifying rubber, which also struggled for pace on Saturday.
Hiroshi Yasukawa - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport
"Congratulations to the Ducati team and to Casey for another perfect performance in spite of the difficult conditions faced this weekend. It is a pleasure to see a Bridgestone-shod team and rider take the first win of the season and to start this competitive year with such success. We know it has not been easy here in Qatar, but we have done our best to supply each of our teams with the most competitive tyres possible. All our teams have given their maximum this weekend and our thanks go to each of them for their efforts."
Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Race Tyre Development
"From a technical perspective, we have faced a tough challenge here at Qatar, so it is of course great to see Casey Stoner and the Ducati team take another win using our tyres. Generally, we have struggled for performance compared to our rivals, both with race and qualifying tyres. Casey was the only Bridgestone rider to get competitiveness from the race tyres over the full race distance, and he set some very impressive times, but the results from other riders on our tyres shows that we have more work to do on our low temperature compounds. We will also carry out an investigation with the Suzuki team to understand why Chris Vermeulen suffered a problem with his front tyre, something that we have not seen at any time over the race weekend or test."
Casey Stoner - Ducati Corse - Race Winner
"At the start of the race, I hung back a bit because I wanted to wait until things calmed down a bit, keeping out of trouble and not losing pace with the front pack. Although qualifying did not go too well, we knew we had quite a good race pace, but this win is a fantastic result and I don't think we really expected it. At the start, I lacked side traction and traction in general, but once the tyres warmed up, we could put in some good lap times. The rear grip was dropping towards the end of the race and we had a couple of front end slides, but as the fuel level dropped, the pace was still good."