Ben Spies scored his career first MotoGP pole, and his first on Bridgestone tires, with a stunning lap in the closing stages of the hour-long qualifying session for the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
The American Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider topped the order by 0.2seconds, the only rider to lap under the existing Indy lap record, using Bridgestone’s harder front and softer asymmetric rear slick tires.
Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo will start second for Fiat Yamaha, just 0.01seconds ahead of the second American on the front row, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden who also recorded his best qualifying performance of the season and indeed his best qualifying result since moving to Bridgestone tires at the start of the 2009 season.
Every rider set his fastest qualifying lap using the harder front and softer rear slick tires, but today all riders continued to assess both tire compound options in order to make their choice for the race tomorrow. The track temperature reached a scorching 52 degrees Celsius today, and the forecast for tomorrow is hotter still.
The softer option rear tyres delivered the fastest times in qualifying because of the additional grip they offer, but with the high track temperature the harder option rears will offer better consistency over race distance, so many riders are still undecided and will use tomorrow’s warm-up session to confirm their race choice.
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department) says: “Firstly I want to congratulate Ben and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for his first MotoGP pole position in only his rookie season, and also to Nicky and Ducati for his best qualifying performance on Bridgestone tires.”
“The softer rear tire provided a grip advantage over the harder option during the qualifying session, even with such a high track temperature, but the harder rear will certainly have more consistency over race distance tomorrow. ”
“Conditions will be tough for riders and tires in the race, but I think that the primary choice will be the softer optionrear because of the grip advantage it provides and the extra confidence the riders have in this, even if race distance consistency is not as good as the harder option rear slick.”
“I think there will be a mix between those riders who want the extra grip and those who choose to have better consistency over the 28 laps, so the race could provide an interesting comparison of the performance of both rear tyre compound options.”