— MotoGP 2013 – Round One – Qatar – Qualifying
In a dramatic qualifying session under the Losail floodlights, reigning MotoGP™ World Champion Jorge Lorenzo claimed pole position for the season-opening Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa.
Saturday marked the debut of MotoGP’s new-look qualifying format, whereby the top 12 riders go head-to-head in a 15-minute shootout for the top spot. Maintaining his 100 per cent front row record at the Losail International Circuit, Lorenzo sealed his seventh career pole at the track with a best effort of 1’54.714. Crutchlow, the leading British representative, started his campaign in strong fashion and missed out on pole by two tenths of a second, having abandoned his final run at Turn 1.
Pedrosa had had a quiet weekend up until qualifying, concentrating mainly on race pace, but sealed a front row placing as he pipped Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso by nine thousandths of a second. Dovizioso was the surprise of the session, showing just how far the Desmosedici has come since last year, and how well he is gelling with the machine at the track.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and Repsol’s 20-year-old newcomer Marc Márquez will complete the second row, with the Spaniard lucky not to have run in the back of his teammate in the early stages. Valentino Rossi could manage no more than seventh position on his high-profile return to Yamaha, citing that he had made the wrong judgement on where to join the short session, leaving him in traffic on his final hot lap. Making up the rest of the third row will be GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista and Tech 3’s Bradley Smith.
One of three rookies in the top ten, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone heads the fourth row from Ducati’s Nicky Hayden who is 11th. With Ben Spies having suffered a hard fall in the preceding fourth practice session, the opportunity was very much open for a CRT bike to head into Q2, with Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró taking full advantage. However he couldn’t beat the prototypes, yet starts from a very credible 12th. Spies, riding the Ignite Pramac Racing machine, could manage only third place in Q1, which translates to 13th on the grid.
Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, who pushed hard in an attempt to make Q2 but lost out in the second half of the lap, will be 14th, whilst impressing many was Czech newcomer Lukáš Pešek who will start his first MotoGP race from 15th on the grid for Came IodaRacing Project after finding good form with a soft front tyre – which most riders did not use.
The rest of the top 20 is made up by PBM’s Yonny Hernández, who has suffered two crashes this weekend, Avintia Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards and Ioda’s Danilo Petrucci. The 24-rider grid is completed by Forward’s Claudio Corti at the start of his first full MotoGP campaign, Avintia’s Héctor Barberá, who suffered technical problems at the start of Q1, Australian Gresini debutant Bryan Staring and PBM’s Michael Laverty on the team’s own-built bike.
MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing 1’54.714
2. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’54.916
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’55.151
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 1’55.160
5. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP 1’55.477
6. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’55.645
7. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha Factory Racing 1’55.711
8. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 1’55.870
9. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’56.315
10. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing Team 1’56.523
11. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Team 1’56.667
12. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Power Electronics Aspar 1’57.064
13. Ben Spies (USA) Pramac Racing Team 1’57.440
14. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Power Electronics Aspar 1’57.551
15. Lukas Pesek (CZE) Came IodaRacing Project 1’57.926
16. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Paul Bird Motorsport 1’58.058
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Avintia Blusens 1’58.263
18. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 1’58.271
19. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’58.361
20. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Came Iodaracing Project 1’58.486
21. Claudio Corti (ITA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’58.755
22. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Blusens 1’58.806
23. Bryan Staring (AUS) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 1’58.912
24. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport 1’59.572
Tuenti HP 40’s Pol Espargaró collected the first Moto2™ pole position of 2013, coming back from a crash to deliver a remarkable final lap at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar, with Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami and Marc VDS Racing Team’s Mika Kallio in tow.
Riders were challenged with much traffic and an extremely dusty track surface from the off. This was confirmed by an assortment of falls, not least for Espargaró himself who went down within the first five minutes. Adding to the early surprises, Nakagami, another pace-setter so far this weekend, was stuck in his garage with problems early on.
Amid the early dramas, the Marc VDS bike of Scott Redding headed the timesheets and appeared to be losing less ground on the start/finish straight than in previous sessions. He eventually settled for fourth place as Espargaró surprised many, including himself, to pick up a remarkable half a second in the final sector alone, sealing the top spot with 2’00.882. One and a half tenths cover the top three, with Nakagami, deprived of a career-first pole by just over a tenth, eventually managing 15 laps as Kallio improved his personal best in the last knockings.
Behind Redding, row two is completed by Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter and second Italtrans representative Julián Simón. Nico Terol will start seventh for the Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2, making up the third row with Tuenti’s Esteve Rabat and Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Marcel Schrotter. JiR Moto2’s Mike di Meglio was tenth, as less than a second covered the first 13 riders; that particular group was rounded out by reigning Moto3 Champion Sandro Cortese, who managed to re-join the session for Dynavolt Intact GP following an earlier highside from which he escaped unharmed.
Also falling during the 45 minutes were Interwetten Paddock’s Sergio Gadea, substituting for the injured Tom Lüthi, and NGM Mobile Racing’s Mattia Pasini.
Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Pol Espargaró SPA Tuenti HP 40 2:00.882
2- Takaaki Nakagami JAP Italtrans Racing Team 2:01.014
3- Mika Kallio FIN Marc VDS Racing Team 2:01.041
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom will head an all-Spanish front row for the opening Moto3™ race of 2013 at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar, as the Mallorcan topped Saturday’s qualifying session from Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales and Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins.
Despite no less than 32 bikes in the field and plenty of sand remaining off the racing line at the desert circuit, times continued to tumble and fluctuate across the course of the 40 minutes, as the fight for pole quickly transpired to be between the eventual front row men plus Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger and Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira.
Returning to the top with two minutes to go, Salom navigated his way around slower runners to go even quicker as the chequered flag flew, sealing pole with a lap time of 2’07.229. This edged out Viñales by a tenth of a second, as he fought through the pain following his testing accident at Jerez, from which the stitches had been removed only two days ago.
Rins had been fastest for much of the session and also sealed his front row spot with a last-gasp effort, moving ahead of Folger as Oliveira returned to the second row and fifth place. Sixth on the grid will be CIP Moto3’s Alan Techer, with the Frenchman having beaten Redox RW Racing GP’s Jakub Kornfeil who heads the third row. Efrén Vázquez and Alex Márquez complete Row 3 for Mahindra and Estrella Galicia respectively, with Australia’s Arthur Sissis rounding out the top ten for Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Arthur Sissis – “It was a rather positive session. I wasn’t expecting this result after Thursday’s free practice and Friday’s sessions, because I didn’t go so well in those. We took a step forward with our setting and I also improved my riding. In the end, it wasn’t bad at all. I rode by myself and was fast, so I think that I can go even better as part of a group.”
Further down the field female rider Ana Carrasco impressed by sealing 23rd spot for Team Calvo, despite having missed out on track time for much of the weekend so far due to technical issues
Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Luis Salom SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo 2:07.229
2- Maverick Viñales SPA Team Calvo 2:07.337
3- Alex Rins SPA Estrella Galicia 2:07.596
— Yamaha Report
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo became the first MotoGP rider to take pole position under the new qualifying format tonight at the Losail International Circuit for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Qatar. The new quick-fire format allowing just 15 minutes for the riders to deliver their best lap proved an intense session.
Lorenzo was quick to move to the top of the time sheets with a fast lap only to be relegated to third by rival Dani Pedrosa and then fellow Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow. The Champion then responded with a stunning 1’54.714 second lap, over two tenths clear of Crutchlow in second to take his first pole of the season.
Having set a threatening pace over the practice sessions Valentino Rossi looked promising for a strong qualifying session. Unfortunately the Italian nine-time World Champion was held up in traffic on his second outing with a fresh tyre and was unable to make it to the front row for tomorrow’s race. Rossi will start his first Grand Prix back with Yamaha from the third row in seventh place.
Jorge Lorenzo – 1st / 1’54.714 / 7 laps
“I’m really happy, for three or four laps we pushed to the limit. I knew Cal was really fast over one lap so I had to push to the maximum. I’m very happy with this pole position. The important thing is that the Yamaha works here at this track. I think for the first time of the new qualifying format it has been very positive and for the fans it is very good to watch. For the riders you are a little more nervous and you have less time to make a fast lap. I knew I was competitive but the ten minutes before the qualifying we had some problems with the set up of the bike so it was more difficult to make the time. We had to change to yesterday’s setting. The important thing is to make a good start tomorrow. The last simulations I made were better than yesterday so I’m quite confident for the start. If there are problems in the first laps we have to be patient and wait for the middle of the race.”
Valentino Rossi – 7th / 1’55.711 / 7 laps
“The qualifying was not fantastic for us, especially as we lost the second row. Our performance during free practice was better than this, we’ll wait for tomorrow. Unfortunately in the qualifying session with the second tyre where we had to improve I was stuck in traffic so I could not improve my lap time and I lost some positions. For sure tomorrow it becomes more difficult to start from further behind but we have a good pace so we can be quite competitive.”
Yamaha Factory Racing Wilco Zeelenberg Team Manager
“The new qualifying system has been run for the first time and Jorge got the pole. It was very exciting I have to say. Everything is focused on just 15 minutes so you are more nervous than with an hour qualification. He did very well and was happy with his performance and with the bike also. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s race. There are three or four guys who are strong, but we will try to win the race and if not be on the podium! The first challenge is the start and we’ll see from there.”
Yamaha Factory Racing Massimo Meregalli Team Director
“There’s no better way to start the season than with a pole. The lap that Jorge did was amazing. The pace he has is really good and I think we can be pretty optimistic for tomorrow. Unfortunately Vale had some traffic during his last tyre and that compromised his possibility to do two fast laps. He has to start from the third row but he is a fighter and what we have seen from the last two days means we know he can do well. We are ready for tomorrow.”
— HRC Report
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) will start tomorrow evening’s season-opening Qatar Grand Prix from the front row of the grid after a dazzling performance in MotoGP’s new-look qualifying format.
The Spaniard was third fastest in the 15 minute session that was topped by reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) both secured second-row starts, placing fifth and sixth fastest under the Losail floodlights.
Conditions at the desert-based circuit have been typically tricky since practice began on Thursday, with wind blowing sand onto the track making grip worryingly inconsistent. Yesterday evening a rare rain shower affected the Moto2 and Moto3 practice sessions.
Tonight’s MotoGP qualifying session was an historic occasion for motorcycle Grand Prix racing – the first time that qualifying has been split into two groups. The new format divides MotoGP riders into two groups following the first three practice sessions: the fastest ten and the rest.
After a final 30 minute practice session, qualifying then takes place in two 15 minute outings, with the slower group out on track first, in Qualifying 1. The fastest two riders from that session are then seeded through to the Qualifying 2 session, in which they get the chance to battle with the fastest ten riders for the best grid positions. The Moto2 and Moto3 classes continue with a traditional qualifying format.
The introduction of the new system adds extra tension to qualifying, with riders having only enough time for two short runs, which leaves no room for even the tiniest of errors by rider or team. Tonight was particularly tense, with riders wondering how the new format would work for them.
Like many of his rivals, Pedrosa struggled to find a fully clear track during the 15 minute session. Nonetheless he was happy that he made it onto the front row and he has some ideas to further improve his factory RC213V that he will evaluate in evening warm-up.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) will start the first race of his second season in the premier class from the middle of the second row, between Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) and Marquez. The impressive German paced himself perfectly, gradually picking up speed throughout practice to find his maximum pace when he needed it most. After solving an issue with front-end feeling during the first three sessions he made another crucial change for qualifying that worked out well.
Marquez performed brilliantly in his first MotoGP qualifying session, even though sixth place didn’t quite match his position at the end of the first three practice sessions. Yesterday evening the 20-year-old was the fastest man on track, outpacing Lorenzo by one thousandths of a second! He attributed his sixth place on the grid to a couple of minor errors that he made in his first qualifying run and an inability to reach his maximum straight out of the pits. That skill will surely come with more time on a MotoGP bike.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) enjoyed the new qualifying format, but he struggled with front-end feeling. The Spaniard has a good race pace and feels that the race will go better for him, especially if he can get away with the leading group.
Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) will start his first MotoGP race from 23rd on the grid. The Australian – riding a CBR1000RR-powered FTR Honda CRT bike – is still getting acclimatised to MotoGP machinery and was happy enough with his first qualifying session in the premier class.
Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) rode a heroic qualifying session to take the first Moto2 pole position of the year. The Spaniard – who had dominated preseason testing – crashed in the opening minutes of the session, after which he rode his battered machine back to the pits. Following some rapid work by his mechanics Espargaro returned to the track hoping to chase down his rivals who were already laying down very fast laps. Bit by bit he got closer to the front, until his final lap was fast enough to demote Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) to second place.
The qualifying action in the Honda-powered series was typically close, with Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) taking third, just over one tenth of a second slower than pole. The fastest 15 riders were covered by a mere 1.062s.
Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) led much of the session, ending up fourth to lead row two after team-mate Kallio bettered him by just 0.048s. The Briton is joined on the second row by Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) and Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex)
The final four men in the top ten are Nicolas Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter), Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex), Marcel Schrotter (Desguaces La Torre SAG Kalex) and Mike Di Meglio (Jir Moto2 Motobi).
Alan Techer (CIP TSR Honda) rode a brilliant Moto3 qualifying session to secure himself a place on the second row of the grid for tomorrow evening’s opening Moto3 Grand Prix. Using an upgraded NSF250R engine, delivered to teams at Losail by Honda, the 18-year-old Frenchman was the fastest of five Honda riders in the top 15 qualifiers.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) was 12th, 1.5 seconds off pole position, while Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) was 13th and Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda) 14th.
Race night gets underway with the Moto3 race at 7pm (local time), followed by Moto2 at 8.20pm and MotoGP at 10pm.
Honda MotoGP rider quotes
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd – 1m 55.151s
“Today we were able to improve a lot and take a front-row start for tomorrow. It is important to start high up the grid whenever you can, because there are some very fast riders up against us. We still need to improve a few things with the bike and I hope that we can have a good race. The key will be to choose a good tyre compound and find a strong pace.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 5th – 1m 55.477s
“Fifth position was our target because our rivals are very strong at every circuit and in all conditions, so we must be very happy with our performance today. During free practice four we improved our set-up and the front-end feeling which was the key to going faster. I was not completely happy so we made another adjustment before QP and we were lucky because it worked well. This new qualifying system made everybody nervous but, in the end, it was exciting. Everyone used the same strategy and there was a lot of traffic, but we will get used to this and I think it’s more fun for the fans.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 6th – 1m 55.645s
“Today was my first MotoGP qualifying session and the first time that we’d had the short 15 minute run, but the result was what we had expected. I still need to be a bit more ‘explosive’ and push hard from the start. We got the sixth fastest time, as on my opening two fast laps I made mistakes and lost a few thousandths. That is something that we have to improve. We still have the warm-up tomorrow, in which we need to continue working on our pace and from there, we need to choose the best tyre for the race. The important thing will be to make a good start and see what happens.”
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 8th – 1m 55.711s
“The new qualifying format was good fun, but in 15 minutes you don’t have time to make any mistakes. I didn’t have much feel for the front tonight and we tried to fix that but we’re still not happy. My pace on used tyres isn’t bad so we’ll try to improve the setting in the warm-up and I’m confident that if we make a good start I can run with the front group. The race is long and this track isn’t easy so anything could happen.”
Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 23rd – 1m 58.912s
“I am satisfied because I feel I am slowly getting to grips with MotoGP. My position on the grid isn’t the best but for me it was important to go into the race having taken some steps to further improve my feeling with this bike and we did that. I feel more relaxed today and I am sure we can start to make some real progress soon. Unfortunately it takes time but I have a very supportive team.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti: pole position – 2m 00.882s
“I got pole on the last lap, something very special considering that I crashed in the early stages of the session and took a knock to my head and hand. The crash also cost me a lot of time, and after getting back on track after some great work from my crew to fix the bike I thought that anywhere in the top three would’ve been a good result, but in the end I had a great time chasing pole position. Starting the year with a pole is important, because it gives you confidence. Tomorrow I am convinced it will be a thrilling race and there will be many riders fighting out front. The important things will be to manage the tyres well over 19 laps and to make no mistakes.”
Takaaki Nakagami, Italtrans Racing Team: 2nd – 2m 01.014s
“I really thought we could get pole position, but in the end Espargaro was faster. However, the important thing is that we are very consistent, so I think we are ready to fight to win the race. We will see tomorrow. Since we started practice on Thursday I’ve had a really good feeling with the bike, so I’ve worked to feel good with the track conditions here. Luckily, the track is better now than it was yesterday. I’m very happy with our work so far this weekend.”
Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team: 3rd – 2m 01.041s
“We decided to go with two longer runs in qualifying and it was a plan that worked well today. The softer option rear we started with had good grip, allowing me to build confidence on a track that was much improved compared to yesterday. When we switched to the harder rear the grip was even better and I knew I could push for the front row. I managed to catch a slipstream down the start finish straight and that set me up nicely for my flying lap. I’m feeling confident, but it’s difficult to plan for the race now. Starting from the front row is a definite advantage, so we’ll see how things work out tomorrow, I guess.”
Honda Moto3 rider quotes
Alan Techer, CIP: 6th – 2m 08.471s
“I am very happy regarding my qualifying. Since the beginning of the weekend I’ve been in the top 15 during free practice and I feel good on my Honda. During qualifying, with my team boss Alain Bronec, we tried a few modifications, especially with the frame, and the changes paid off! It’s my first second row! For tomorrow, we will keep calm, but thanks to the new Honda engine which we received at the beginning of the weekend, we hope to make a good result.”
Romano Fenati, San Carlo Team Italia: 12th – 2m 08.784s
“Today was a good day. We continued to work with the team in the best way, so I’m happy. For the warm-up we will work on a few final details to be ready for the race tomorrow. I’m we will have a good race, battling in the top positions.”
Niccolo Antonelli, GO&FUN Gresini: 14th – 2m 09.107s
“It was not great but not bad either! We made a change to the front that we thought would help but it did not work and I could not push as hard as I wanted. We’ll take a step backwards with the set-up and use what we had yesterday and see how it is in the warm-up. I’m confident it will work in the race.”
— Ducati Report
In the debut of MotoGP’s exciting new qualifying system and his first qualifying session as a Ducati Team rider, Andrea Dovizioso had a successful Q2, with just .009 seconds separating him from the front row for tomorrow night’s season-opening Qatar Grand Prix, and just .446 seconds between him and pole-qualifier Jorge Lorenzo.
Thanks to solid performances over the previous two days, both the Italian and his teammate Nicky Hayden had advanced directly into tonight’s 15-minute Q2 session, which was made particularly challenging by an extremely dirty track surface. Dovizioso was pleased with his setup and was able to ride to his bike’s limit, whereas Hayden struggled with chatter in his first run and pitted for a fresh tyre after just one lap. His second exit was affected by unfortunate timing and mistakes.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 4th (1:55.160)
“I’m very pleased to make the second row, just a few tenths from first place. I didn’t expect to do a 1:55.1 lap, or especially to be so close to Lorenzo. It was nice to have a good feeling with the bike when I tried to push hard with a new tyre in the last laps. I’m really happy with the work that the team did this weekend because we managed to make it to qualifying with a perfect setup of our electronics, so we were quickly able to use the bike to its full potential. Starting from the second row will be important for the race. I still have some big question marks for the race because everything is still new for me, but I’m very motivated for tomorrow. We’ll see how things are in the race.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 11th (1:56.667)
“In the first run, I had a lot of chatter from out of nowhere. I went back out, and right when I went to start my hot lap, the other guys were pulling out of the pits, and I just made too many mistakes in the traffic. I’m certainly not thrilled, especially because last year I was one second faster in qualifying. It was a poor job by me when it counted, but credit to Andrea for a really good session. I think our setups are very similar, but we’ll definitely have to check his data.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard; Rear: Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 25-24°C; Track 27-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo laid down a lap of 1’54.714 on his penultimate lap in QP2 to claim pole position for the first race of the 2013 MotoGP™ season at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit.
Lorenzo’s time eclipsed that of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow by 0.202 seconds, the two riders ensuring a Yamaha 1-2 at the front of the grid. Rounding out the front row was Respol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who made a big improvement from yesterday to set a best time that was four-tenths off pole position. Aleix Espargaro impressed again on the Power Electronics Aspar ART machine, the Spaniard the only CRT rider to make into QP2 and finishing twelfth overall.
Track temperatures were cooler today with a peak of 27°C and windy conditions coated the circuit in more dust, keeping grip levels low and as a result tyre choice was dictated by the need to have the best possible edge grip from the rear tyre and braking stability. All of the riders in the QP2 set their best times on the combination of the softer rear and harder front slick and this option could feature in tomorrow’s race.
The twenty-four MotoGP™ riders have one final session tomorrow – Warm Up at 1800 local time (GMT +3) – to hone their setup and work out their tyre strategy before the twenty-two lap race commences at 2200.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“We had similar track conditions to yesterday with a lot of sand on the circuit and so the combination of the harder front and softer rear slick was once again widely used for today’s qualifying sessions. Sand on the track not only reduces grip, it also increases abrasion so I am pleased with the performance of both specification of our rear slick tyres so far this weekend. Also, with the top seven riders setting a qualifying time within one second of each other, the signs are promising for an exciting contest tomorrow.”