Loris Caps Off Strong Start For Bridgestone Riders Ducati's Loris Capirossi led a trio of Bridgestone-shod riders at the top of the timesheets after the first day of practice for this weekend's Valencia GP in Spain. The Italian, who lies fourth...
Loris Caps Off Strong Start For Bridgestone Riders
Ducati's Loris Capirossi led a trio of Bridgestone-shod riders at the top of the timesheets after the first day of practice for this weekend's Valencia GP in Spain. The Italian, who lies fourth in the riders' championship heading into this final event of the year, beat Kawasaki rider Randy de Puniet into second place by 0.188s.
Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen used his expertise around Valencia to good effect to finish the day in third position, ensuring that each of Bridgestone's teams is represented in the top three. In addition to valuable preparation work for Sunday afternoon's lengthy thirty lap race, the three riders also completed a qualifying simulation towards the end of the afternoon session which cemented Bridgestone's presence at the front on Friday.
Capirossi's best time on race tyres was equally impressive with his lap of 1m33.072s just fractionally off Nicky Hayden's best of 1m33.019s and marginally ahead of Casey Stoner's 1m33.080s, perfectly encapsulating the competitiveness of the field on this final race weekend of the season.
De Puniet and Vermeulen were also quick throughout the day on race tyres and their best "race" laps would have still been good enough to claim top ten positions. All six Bridgestone-shod riders started the Valencia weekend strongly with all riders setting top ten times. John Hopkins, Shinya Nakano and Troy Bayliss were separated by less than one-tenth-of-a-second as they secured eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.
Bayliss is making his Ducati return this weekend in place of injured Sete Gibernau and the Australian rider wasted no time re-acquainting himself with MotoGP at a circuit where he still holds the top speed record, 321.141kmh, from the 2004 season.
Shinji Aoki - Bridgestone Motorsport - Assistant Manager Motorcycle Race Tyre Development "On the final Friday of this season, we assumed a combination of strategies with our teams in order to fully prepare for tomorrow and Sunday. Loris, Randy and Chris's best times were all set on our qualifying tyres to allow us an accurate simulation of compounds for tomorrow afternoon, when the performance matters most. Randy actually conducted two runs on qualifying tyres at the end of the session to run a compound comparison, which yielded similar results, both of which are encouraging for qualifying proper tomorrow. However, these qualifying times actually mask the initial strong performance that we were able to achieve on race tyres. Loris was pace-setter for most of the second session and ultimately his best "race" lap was second only to Nicky Hayden. We are conscious of the demand for longevity this weekend. Thirty laps represent a tough race on Sunday afternoon and Valencia is one of the longest race distances of the year, so we will be taking a close look at our endurance when we complete long runs in tomorrow morning's practice session."