Czech Grand Prix, Brno: Bridgestone Qualifying Review

 In MotoGP, News

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa stormed to his first pole position of the season in Brno today with a final lap of the hour-long session that saw him dip under the existing lap record.

Using the extra hard compound front and the softer rear Bridgestone slicks, Pedrosa finished 0.11seconds ahead of Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo with Casey Stoner in third, another 0.15seconds adrift. Tomorrow’s second row comprises Ben Spies, Marco Simoncelli and Valentino Rossi who leapt up the timesheets towards the end of the session.

Heavy rain earlier today soaked the circuit and meant that the morning’s free practice was run on Bridgestone’s wet tyres, but as the sun emerged the tarmac soon dried and conditions for qualifying were fine if not a little greasy at the start. This meant that some riders started the session using the hard compound front slicks, but it was the extra hard option that was favoured for its increased stability under braking and the heavy loads exerted by the undulating Brno circuit.

Under the new tyre regulations, riders were able to choose their split of rear tyre compounds after yesterday’s two free practice sessions, instead of being given five of each compound as per the previous regulations. Every rider selected six of the softer option and four of the harder, giving each one more soft rear tyre than was available before the regulation change. Most riders used the softer rear for the duration of the session, some checking race-distance durability as they did so.

Tomorrow’s race gets underway at 1400hrs local time, although there will only be 17 riders on the grid as John Hopkins has been ruled out of competition after a crash in FP3 in which he injured his right hand, breaking a finger and fracturing another. The forecast tomorrow suggests it will be fine and dry all day with no rain.

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Hard, Extra Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium
Wet compounds available: Front: Soft Rear: Soft

Tohru Ubukata – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“This morning’s conditions were tricky with a lot of rain falling that led to a great deal of standing water on the circuit. Riders spent the duration of the session on our wet tyres, but at least from this they were able to gain a lot of data about their wet setups. We could also see that even on a drying track our soft wet tyres had sufficient durability for the whole session and wear appearance was good. Unfortunately though in these conditions John Hopkins crashed and injured his hand, meaning he cannot race tomorrow which is a great shame. Conditions for this afternoon were fine and dry again, although the rain left the circuit a little more slippery than yesterday which is why the times are slightly slower than during FP1 and FP2. Nevertheless, we were able to confirm the race-distance durability of our softer option rear tyres during the session, and they are a viable option for tomorrow’s 22 lap race in similar conditions.”

Source: Bridgestone Motorsport

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