Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo kept his head in very difficult conditions to take his first victory of the 2011 season at Jerez, which was the first wet MotoGP race since the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2009 and his first win in the rain.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa crossed the line in second position ahead of Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden after what was a very dramatic MotoGP race.
Every rider used Bridgestone’s soft compound wets as the race started wet, but the conditions were constantly changing lap-by-lap, even corner-to-corner.
Jerez’s tarmac is quite abrasive and as the surface gradually dried, the challenge for the riders, their bikes and the tyres became greater in the search for useable grip.
Many MotoGP riders fell foul of the ever-changing conditions and there were several crashes. Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi crashed while passing Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner for second, taking the Australian with him into the gravel.
San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli crashed out of the lead, Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies crashed whilst running second having just passed Pedrosa, and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards retired from third.
Sunday’s rain meant that the morning warm-up and the race were the very first wet sessions of running this season, presenting the teams and riders with the task of deciding their wet setups with only 20minutes of warm-up track time.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “I think everyone who watched the race will agree that it was very dramatic indeed with so many changes of position throughout the whole field.
“Such conditions are always very difficult, for the teams, the riders and for our tyres, but Jorge rode a very mature and consistent race to cross the line first so I must congratulate him and the Yamaha team. Dani rode very well through his lingering injury for second whilst it was good to see Nicky take to the podium again.”
Masao Azuma (Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport) says: “Today’s conditions were the trickiest we can expect for our wet tyres because the track was drying but still damp, and Jerez is an abrasive circuit. Of course, grip was dropping off as the circuit got drier. Jerez circuit can cope well with a lot of rain so there was little standing water which aided in the circuit drying, and tire selection is always a compromise between grip and tyre life.
“We chose our soft compound wets because they are best suited to the conditions in Jerez. Conditions like today are so tricky because no-one knows what the weather will do throughout the race which makes it difficult for the riders and our tyres.. We saw it was forecast to rain throughout the race, but actually it got drier.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing – MotoGP Race Winner) says: “I think everyone wanted dry conditions today but you can’t control these things. It was very difficult. Marco and Valentino came and went away a little bit and Dani started to catch a little bit so it was difficult to keep the concentration, but then with the crashes we have been lucky.
“It was really tough today because the track was not completely wet. Some bikes save the tyres a little more, and also the way you ride the bike, so I was very concentrated to save the tyres because we knew it would be tough from the beginning. To watch some others crashing and keep the concentration is not so easy, and such a long race, but we kept on the bike and we won for the second time here in Jerez.”
Bridgestone wet tire compounds available: Front: Soft. Rear: Soft