Vermeulen takes pole as Bridgestone wets excel in Assen Round 09 - Netherlands - Qualifying Riders equipped with Bridgestone wet weather tyres excelled in qualifying this afternoon as Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen took his first pole position of...
Vermeulen takes pole as Bridgestone wets excel in Assen
Round 09 - Netherlands - Qualifying
Riders equipped with Bridgestone wet weather tyres excelled in qualifying this afternoon as Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen took his first pole position of the 2007 season, heading a quintet of Bridgestone-shod riders for tomorrow afternoon's 26-lap Dutch TT in Assen.
Vermeulen, winner of this season's French GP, finished just 0.017s ahead of championship-leading Ducati rider Casey Stoner who secured his fourth front row position of the year so far.
Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet continued a highly competitive Assen weekend with third place, his second front row in three races, after a last gasp flying lap which demoted an equally impressive Marco Melandri down to fourth place on his Honda Gresini.
Suzuki's John Hopkins will start alongside the Italian on the second row of the grid to complete the first ever Bridgestone top five in a MotoGP qualifying session, the tyre manufacturer's best combined qualifying result since the 2006 Jerez GP. Anthony West will start his second GP for Kawasaki from a competitive seventh one place ahead of fellow Bridgestone-equipped rider Alex Hofmann, who had threatened to hassle the front row this afternoon.
Tyre Talk with Junichi Kawajiri - Bridgestone Motorsport -Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
What part did Bridgestone's wet weather tyres play in the excellent qualifying results this afternoon?
"There was always a chance that rain would make an appearance for this afternoon's qualifying session and I think we were quite well prepared for it. For the fourth race weekend in the last five we have been forced to use our wet weather tyres after the rain-affected races in Le Mans and Donington and the wet qualifying session in Mugello at the start of this month. On each of these occasions, we have seen a good performance from our wet tyres and this was again the case this afternoon. In such difficult conditions, while the tyres and the bikes undoubtedly play a vital part, the crucial difference comes from the rider. This afternoon, Chris, Casey and Randy were the class of the field, but there were also some excellent individual performances from many of our riders, which means that all nine riders on Bridgestone tyres will start tomorrow's race from the top 12, an outstanding performance."
Is Bridgestone satisfied with its race pace in dry conditions?
"The three free practice sessions have shown that the competition is very tough here in Assen, but several of our riders have shown a high level of competitiveness so far. Casey has been especially strong with several laps under the critical 1m38s mark. Randy, too, has demonstrated his and Kawasaki's potential this weekend and his front row start for the race will be a big boost for his chances. We cannot underestimate the opposition, regardless of grid position, because several riders will be battling for podium positions tomorrow afternoon whether wet or dry."
Riding Perspective - Chris Vermeulen - Suzuki - Pole Position
"I am very pleased with this first pole position of the season and the third of my MotoGP career. The Bridgestone wet tyres, as usual, performed great today. We tried two different compounds at the rear and just the one wet tyre at the front. The front tyre did the whole session, all 25 laps, so durability was also excellent throughout. I looked at the top speeds of all the riders and they all seemed to be on Bridgestones, so the braking stability from the front tyre is awesome and the rear also gave me a lot of feel. The first five guys on the grid are on Bridgestones, so it goes to show how good the wet tyres are and how it works on all types of machinery. "