Encouraging opening day for Bridgestone in USA Round 11 - USA - Free Practice Laguna Seca Circuit, California, USA - Friday 20 July 2007 Bridgestone Motorsport got its US Grand Prix weekend underway in positive style at the Laguna Seca...
Encouraging opening day for Bridgestone in USA
Round 11 - USA - Free Practice
Laguna Seca Circuit, California, USA - Friday 20 July 2007
Bridgestone Motorsport got its US Grand Prix weekend underway in positive style at the Laguna Seca circuit in California today with three riders using Bridgestone tyres occupying the first three places of the combined free practice standings.
Championship leader Casey Stoner was the only man to lap under 1m23s to claim the fastest time of the day aboard his Ducati. His best lap time (1m22.997s) represented a 0.3s improvement over the current circuit record lap (1m23.333s) set in 2006.
Honda Gresini's Marco Melandri ended the opening day in an encouraging second place just 0.18s off Stoner's pace, while California-born Suzuki rider John Hopkins enjoyed a positive opening day in preparation for his home grand prix, rounding out the top three.
Meanwhile, three riders have enjoyed their first taste of Bridgestone's MotoGP tyres in today's free practice sessions. American Roger Lee Hayden is making a wildcard appearance for Kawasaki, Canadian Miguel Duhamel is standing in for injured Toni Elias at the Honda Gresini team, while British rider Chaz Davies is replacing Pramac d'Antin's Alex Hofmann who has been ruled out of the US Grand Prix after sustaining injuries in a morning practice collision.
Tyre Talk with Junichi Kawajiri - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
What has been the programme for today's free practice sessions?
"We have worked on several different things today to carry out an initial evaluation of our tyre specifications for this weekend's race. It has been quite an encouraging day and some of our riders have been able to conduct comfortable mid-range runs with the same tyre, equivalent to around half a race distance. Tomorrow morning we will go for longer runs with the selected tyre to understand better the tyre behaviour in race trim."
Laguna Seca has been resurfaced since last year's US Grand Prix, how have the track characteristics changed?
"The new asphalt at Laguna Seca has resulted in a smoother surface, but it is also particularly oily. The track is also dusty which makes it difficult for the riders to find front and rear grip. We are likely to face this situation all weekend because we are in a particularly remote location and the slightest gust of wind always carries the dust back on to the track. We are hopeful that our range of tyres will continue to show the level of competitive performance that we have seen with our teams in today's two sessions."
Session 1 Dry track - Air 24C, Track 32C, Humidity 36% (taken from official MotoGP timesheet)
Session 2 Dry track - Air 27C, Track 42C, Humidity 34% (taken from official MotoGP timesheet)