In the hot and humid conditions on the first day of the San Marino Grand Prix the hard compound Bridgestone slicks were the favoured choice. Whilst the field used both options during the session to get a feeling for the available grip and balance...
In the hot and humid conditions on the first day of the San Marino Grand Prix the hard compound Bridgestone slicks were the favoured choice. Whilst the field used both options during the session to get a feeling for the available grip and balance from each, it was on the harder slicks that the best times were recorded.
The Fiat Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo set the pace with the Italian topping the timesheets 0.5seconds off his 2008 lap record after the hour of practice. Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso finished third and fifth respectively, either side of San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alex de Angelis.
Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
Misano is a relatively low-grip circuit, yet the fastest time today was set on the hard compound slicks. Why do you think this was?
"The hard compound slicks were generally faster today because the ambient and track temperatures were quite high; the conditions were almost the same as we saw during the race here last year when the ambient was 34 degrees Celsius and the track was 49 degrees."
What can you say about track conditions during the first free practice?
"The track was a little dirty today and the grip level was not as much as last year, even though conditions were similar, so it was easy for riders to make a mistake which is why we saw a few riders fall. The track also cooled considerably towards the end of the session as cloud cover blocked the direct sunlight. The last corner here is always quite slippery because there is no inclination angle through the corner which makes it difficult for the riders to load the tyres and keep them loaded for maximum grip.
"The track is also quite bumpy in many of the braking areas, so it is common for the rear tyre to lift under heavy braking. This means that front tyre stability and grip is crucial to give the riders confidence. This is another reason that the hard compound front tyre was favoured for its increased compound stiffness and therefore stability."
Is it too early to say what you expect from the slick tyres for the rest of the weekend?
"If the conditions remain the same then I can say that the hard compound slicks will clearly be the favoured choice, but the weather over the next two days is expected to get much cooler, by around ten degrees Celsius, so in this situation we can expect to see more of a mix between the harder and softer options depending on rider preference."