Proceedings were different today at the Grand Prix of Aragon as the Friday morning practice session, scrapped at the end of the 2008 season, was reinstated temporarily as a trial ahead of a potential permanent return next season.
Riders not only sampled the Motorland Aragon circuit for the first time on their 800cc MotoGP machines, but they also got to run in both the dry in the morning and the wet in the afternoon session.
Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was fastest in the dry using the softer option front and harder rear slicks, favored for their greater durability in the dirty track conditions, ahead of Nicky Hayden and Jorge Lorenzo.
Hayden was the only rider in the top five to set his best lap on the softer option rear slick at the end of the session.
The afternoon’s free practice session was wet for the duration, giving riders and teams a good opportunity to develop their wet setups after a distinct lack of wet running this season.
Casey Stoner finished the 45-minute session fastest, over 0.5seconds clear of Jorge Lorenzo with Nicky Hayden third.
In the morning the track was dirty because it hasn’t been used a great deal recently and the surrounding area is very dusty, and whilst it cleaned throughout the morning sessions, the rain in the afternoon prevented the track conditions from improving further as the rain made the surface greasier still.
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department) says: “In the morning we could evaluate our softer option slicks, but the track was very dirty and that led to slight graining especially of the rear tires.”
“When a track is dirty this is to be expected though, and as it cleaned throughout the session wear appearance was getting better. It didn’t completely clean in the 45 minutes, and with the rain not helping in the afternoon the track will still have to be cleaned more tomorrow. The harder option rear slicks worked well even in the morning’s cooler conditions which I am pleased about.”
“This afternoon’s session was wet throughout and our wet tires performed consistently, even in the dirty conditions,so I am happy with their performance. Overall, after the first two sessions I can say that all our tire specs seem to be well suited to this circuit.”