French GP, Le Mans: Bridgestone MotoGP qualifying report

 In MotoGP, News

bridgestone motogp

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-Soft, Soft & Medium; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)

FP3 – Dry. Ambient 15-16°C; Track 25-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP – Dry. Ambient 22-24°C; Track 41-45°C (Bridgestone measurement)

There is no stopping Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez at the moment, as the Spanish star smashed the existing Le Mans outright circuit lap record by 0.605 seconds for his fifth pole position from the first five races of the season.

While Marquez continued his stranglehold on the top qualifying position this year, starting second on the grid for tomorrow’s French Grand Prix will be Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro, with the MotoGP™ rookie claiming his first ever front-row start with a personal best lap time of 1’32.734. Andrea Dovizioso’s successful record at the Le Mans circuit continued today, as the Ducati rider was third in Qualifying Practice 2 with a time of 1’32.755.

In the time attack during Qualifying Practice 2, Marquez and Espargaro set their best time on the soft compound slicks front and rear, while Dovizioso used the soft compound front matched with the extra-soft rear slick.

As was the case yesterday, weather conditions today were warm and dry, with the peak track temperature of 45°C recorded during QP2. In the earlier Free Practice sessions, riders assessed a wide range of tyres to see which options were more suitable in the warmer than usual temperatures at Le Mans.

During race simulations in FP4, almost every rider preferred the soft compound front slick, matched with their softer rear slick option; extra-soft for the Ducati and Open-class riders, soft for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders. Coincidentally, as well as being more consistent over longer runs, this same tyre combination yielded the best performance over a single lap, hence it was used by most riders during their qualifying runs.

The twenty-eight lap French Grand Prix starts at 1400 local time tomorrow (GMT +1), with the next MotoGP™ session, the twenty-minute morning Warm Up commencing at 0940 local time.

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Another day with perfect conditions gave the riders ample opportunity to try out all the slick tyre options and decide on their race tyre combinations. Although temperatures are warmer than we usually experience at Le Mans, this circuit isn’t demanding on tyres so most riders will opt for their softer rear slick option for the race. For the front tyre, the soft compound option seems to offer the best combination of cornering and braking performance, so I expect this to be widely used tomorrow. This year at Le Mans we’ve brought a new rear tyre allocation with a focus on improved warm-up and safety for the riders. However, it is plain to see that is also provided quite an improvement in performance which the riders, in particular Marc exploited to maximum effect. To beat the existing outright lap record by over half a second is an incredible achievement. Over longer runs, many riders are on a similar race pace so it should be a close contest tomorrow.”

Source: Bridgestone Motorsport

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