Stoner leads the Bridgestone charge for 100th race 2007 MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner will line up second on the grid for tomorrow's season ending event in Valencia, Bridgestone's 100th MotoGP race participation, after a closely-fought ...
Stoner leads the Bridgestone charge for 100th race
2007 MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner will line up second on the grid for tomorrow's season ending event in Valencia, Bridgestone's 100th MotoGP race participation, after a closely-fought qualifying session in which home hero Dani Pedrosa took pole by just 0.086s.
It is the sixth time this year that Stoner has missed out on the top spot by just hundredths-of-a-second this year having been 0.005s adrift in Qatar, 0.084s in Le Mans, 0.017s in Assen, 0.040s in Estoril and 0.041s in Sepang. Combined with the five pole positions he has also claimed in this phenomenal season, Stoner has won the qualifier of the year award based on the cumulative times in all 18 qualifying sessions and the pre-season test in Jerez.
Randy de Puniet took fourth in today's session to continue his fine qualifying form and he will be looking to convert that into a fourth straight top six finish in tomorrow's race, in what will be his final event for Kawasaki. John Hopkins claimed the seventh quickest time of the afternoon ahead of Loris Capirossi in eighth while Marco Melandri will be aiming to put his strong race pace to good use from tenth on the grid.
After 88 practice sessions and the 17 races of this gruelling 2007 season up to now, there remains just one 25-minute warm-up session and a 30-lap, 120-kilometre race to bring down the curtain on this year's championship which has seen 12 wins, 31 podiums and six pole positions on Bridgestone tyres with a total of 21 different riders racing with Bridgestone MotoGP rubber since the season-opener in Qatar back in March.
Tyre Talk with Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
Are you pleased with the performance of the qualifying tyres this afternoon?
"It was a competitive qualifying session this afternoon with all three tyre manufacturers represented in the top five, which is great to see. From Bridgestone's point of view, while we have not been able to improve on our six pole positions for the season, I think all of our teams have good chances in tomorrow's grand prix. Casey will start from the front row of the grid again and he has been able to win the qualifying award, the first time for a rider on Bridgestone tyres."
Were the race tyre performances more representative in today's conditions?
"The weather and track conditions this afternoon were more similar to what we expect in the race tomorrow and we have also been able to do some longer runs during the day. Alex Barros and Chris Vermeulen both conducted runs of around half a race distance, about fifteen laps, and the longevity of the tyres does not appear to be an issue. The grip is better than yesterday, especially this afternoon, and most riders were able to improve on their lap times. The temperatures are a bit lower than last year's event, but I think we can be confident that some of our riders can fight for the podium tomorrow."