Fresh from a dominant performance at the Sachsenring in which eight Bridgestone-shod riders secured top ten positions, including the top four, and following a run of three consecutive race wins for Casey Stoner and...
Fresh from a dominant performance at the Sachsenring in which eight Bridgestone-shod riders secured top ten positions, including the top four, and following a run of three consecutive race wins for Casey Stoner and Ducati, Bridgestone heads to the United States in buoyant mood and ready to face the challenges presented by the famous Laguna Seca Raceway.
Laguna Seca made a welcome return to the MotoGP calendar in 2005 and holds its fourth consecutive United States Grand Prix this weekend. The Monterey-located track was a fixture in the championship in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and this weekend's event will be the tenth premier class US GP to be held at the world renowned circuit.
Bridgestone enjoyed a great result at last year's Laguna Seca event with a 1-2-3 result on race day, led by Casey Stoner, who started from pole position and dominated the gruelling 32-lap race, winning by a margin of almost 10 seconds. Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen took a fine second place with Marco Melandri completing the podium in third for Honda Gresini.
Second place at Sachsenring took Valentino Rossi back to the top of the 2008 championship on 187 points. Stoner's German win continued his recent championship resurgence and takes him to twenty points from Rossi's haul, just four from second-placed Dani Pedrosa who failed to score points at the Sachsenring last weekend.
Bridgestone will have some American flavour to its Laguna Seca weekend with the addition of US racer Ben Spies, who joins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP as a wildcard alongside regular riders Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen this weekend, and AMA Superbike star Jamie Hacking, who replaces the injured John Hopkins at the Kawasaki Racing Team.
Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit "We have not had much time to reflect on our success from the Sachsenring, but it was really a great race result for us, and it was so great to see so many Bridgestone riders enjoy success in the wet. We got a podium clean sweep at Laguna Seca in 2007, and it would be great to repeat that feat this season, but we will surely face a renewed challenge from our rivals this weekend. This is the final race before the summer break so it would be nice to end the first part of the season on a high note and to help all our riders enhance their championship positions. We also look forward to working again with Ben Spies at Suzuki, and for the first time with Jamie Hacking at Kawasaki, and wish them a successful weekend."
Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Race Tyre Development
"Laguna Seca is the shortest race track that we visit during the season at just 3.610km, marginally shorter than Sachsenring where we were last weekend. It is a challenging circuit for bikes, riders and tyre manufacturers, with the very well known Corkscrew turn, which really puts the whole package to the test. Like Sachsenring there is a disproportion of left and right-hand corners and this asymmetrical layout over 32 tough laps offers us a nice challenge. The track was resurfaced before last year's event and the asphalt is quite slippery. The usually hot weather conditions also play an important part and we have to keep durability as a focal point over the weekend. Finding the all-important compromise between performance, grip and life is always the tyre technician's target." 2007 Flashback
"Casey Stoner got his 2007 US GP preparations off to a flying start, ending the opening day of practice as the fastest man ahead of two other Bridgestone riders, Marco Melandri and John Hopkins. Stoner remained the pacesetter on qualifying day, claiming pole position as less than two seconds separated the entire field. Chris Vermeulen took a third place front row position using race rubber. Stoner took a dominant win on race day, but Vermeulen continued his strong weekend in second, and Melandri took third, in spite of injuries from a qualifying crash."