Casey Stoner secured his fourth pole position of the season Saturday in the last MotoGP qualifying session of the year at Valencia, and his last with the Ducati Team.
Quick all weekend, Stoner’s third lap of the 45 minute session was just 0.002 seconds from the fastest of the weekend and when he switched to a softer option rear slick at the end of the session, his Valencia times tumbled and he finished almost 0.8 of a second faster than the circuit lap record.
Fastest for the some of the MotoGP qualifying session was Jorge Lorenzo who ultimately had to settle for second on his Fiat Yamaha machine. The World Champion also used a softer rear slick towards the end of the session to finish 0.3 of a second adrift of Stoner.
In third place was an impressive Marco Simoncelli who enjoys his first MotoGP front row starting position.
The top seven MotoGP riders all lapped faster than the existing lap record, indicating how well Bridgestone’s softer option rear slicks are performing here at Valencia. Most MotoGPriders started the session using the harder option front and rear slicks and race pace was good, but after switching to the extra grip of the softer option rears the times really fell.
Track conditions were again good today and as the temperature rose into the afternoon’s qualifying riders favored the extra stability of the harder front slicks. Using the softer rears, laptimes were fast; with the use of Bridgestone’s extra soft compound rubber here at Valencia this year the top three MotoGP riders were all faster than last year’s pole time.
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department) says: “This morning the MotoGP riders tested tire degradation of the softer option slicks and durability over race distance, and some also checked the performance of the harder options even in the cold conditions, when track temperature was just 17 degrees Celsius. Whilst the softer options provided more grip, both specs worked well and we could confirm that even the softer options have good consistency over race distance.”
“This afternoon in qualifying many riders checked the harder options for their initial grip performance in the hotter conditions to assess whether they will give a performance advantage over race distance. Finally, the top ten all set their best lap times using the softer rear and performance was very good with the top seven riders all under the lap record.”
“The top three riders are also all faster than last year’s MotoGP pole time, and we can attribute this at least in part to the extra soft compound rubber we are using in the softer option rear slicks this year.”
“Based on today’s result, I can say that the harder option front will be favorite for the race for its added braking stability, whilst rear tire choices will be more mixed depending on whether riders want the better grip of the softer option or the added stability of the harder.”