San Marino GP: Bridgestone Friday practice report

Stoner sets searing pace in Misano practice Reigning world champion Casey Stoner kick-started the San Marino and Riviera di Rimini Grand Prix in style on the opening day of action at the Misano World Circuit today, topping both free practice ...

Stoner sets searing pace in Misano practice

Reigning world champion Casey Stoner kick-started the San Marino and Riviera di Rimini Grand Prix in style on the opening day of action at the Misano World Circuit today, topping both free practice sessions and ending the day four-tenths-of-a-second quicker than his nearest challenger.

The Misano circuit has been slightly modified for this year's event, extending the overall lap to 4.226km. The new layout has rendered all existing lap records obsolete, but Stoner's best practice lap today was still just 0.2s slower than the fastest lap in last year's race, which he himself set.

The Ducati rider's best lap of 1m34.806s made him the only man to dip under the 1m35 mark today with Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi in second place and Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi right behind in third.

Chris Vermeulen, who scored a podium at last year's Misano race, was in sixth place at the end of the day after another encouraging performance for the Rizla Suzuki team, while San Carlo Honda Gresini riders Alex de Angelis and Shinya Nakano set the eighth and ninth fastest times of the day.

Competition for the top positions is tough with five different teams represented in the top five in the combined practice standings and a closely-matched performance from both tyre manufacturers.

Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development

Were you pleased with the performance in today's practice?

"We have had two trouble-free sessions with some excellent weather conditions, so it has been a positive day's work. I am quite pleased with the level of our tyre performance and happy to see such a close competition throughout the field. We knew from last year's event that we would have to work on improving some problems with graining and initial results today suggest this is less of an issue. The slight modifications to the track layout do not really affect tyre performance and we were able to have a solid day of work, following our usual method of tyre evaluation."

What tyres did Bridgestone evaluate over the day?

"We tested a range of compounds from soft, medium and hard tyres over the course of the day. We looked at harder compound tyres in this afternoon's session due to the higher track temperatures which reached over 40 degrees Celsius. Temperatures are similar to what we expected heading into this race weekend, but we hope to carry out longer runs tomorrow to assess the durability of our tyres. Casey has again shown a very competitive pace right from the start and there are other Bridgestone riders who have set good lap times today. A lot of riders set their quickest times towards the end of the afternoon session, and I am sure there is more performance to be found tomorrow."

Weather:
Session 1 / Dry - Air 28C, Track 30-35C (Bridgestone measurement)
Session 2 / Dry - Air 31C, Track 45C (Bridgestone measurement)

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Shinya Nakano , Chris Vermeulen , Alex de Angelis , Casey Stoner