Ducati Team’s Casey Stoner set the fastest lap during the first hour of practice and, using Bridgestone’s asymmetric rear slicks for the first time at Laguna Seca, he was already just 0.02seconds from last year’s pole time.
Jorge Lorenzo was second fastest for the Fiat Yamaha Team and Andrea Dovizioso was third for Repsol Honda, whilst three American riders finished in the top eight: the Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo of Ben Spies and Colin Edwards in fifth and eighth respectively and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden in seventh.
Conditions during the session were fine and the track temperature reached a high of 45 degrees Celsius, giving riders a chance to try both the harder and softer front and rear slick tyres. Stoner and Lorenzo set their best laps using a harder front and softer option rear, whilst Dovizioso favoured the harder rear.
Today’s times show that the asymmetric rears are working well, although their real benefit of improved warm-up performance from the softer right side of the tyre will be shown tomorrow morning when the temperature will be cooler and therefore good warm-up performance more important.
With the absence of tyre competition in MotoGP the basis for competitive comparison has become lap records, in this instance set by Stoner back in 2008 in the final year of tyre competition. After only the first hour of running on a dirty track Stoner was only 0.2seconds slower than the lap record, indicating promising performance from Bridgestone’s asymmetric rear slick tyres at the start of this grand prix weekend.
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department) says: “The circuit was quite dirty today but still the laptimes were fast so I am happy with tyre performance, particularly of our asymmetric rears. They were well received by the riders and contributed to the fast laptimes.”
“The asymmetric rears provide better warm-up performance through the right-handers and good stability and consistency through the lefts, giving the riders more confidence to attack. As conditions improve throughout the weekend the laptimes will get faster and I expect a new lap record on Sunday.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Medium, Hard.
Rear: Medium, Hard (asymmetric)
Top ten from free practice (Friday):
1. Casey Stoner, Ducati Team 1:21.699
2. Jorge Lorenzo, Fiat Yamaha Team, 1:21.932 +0.233
3. Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda Team, 1:22.225 +0.526
4. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team, 1:22.559 +0.860
5. Ben Spies, Monster Yamaha Tech3, 1:22.640 +0.941
6. Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team, 1:22.660 +0.961
7. Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team 1:22.902 +1.203
8. Colin Edwards, Monster Yamaha Tech3, 1:22.971 + 1.272
9. Marco Melandri, San Carlo Honda Gresini, 1:23.021 +1.322
10. Aleix Espargaro, Pramac Racing Team, 1:23.693 +1.994