At Sunday’s French Grand Prix in Le Mans, Casey Stoner not only took his second win of the 2011 MotoGP Championship, he set a new lap record and also shattered the total race-time record by an amazing 25 seconds.
Stoner and the rest of the 17-rider MotoGP grid all chose Bridgestone’s new soft rear tire paired with a hard front due lower than normal track temperatures. And this combination was lethal for Stoner on his Repsol Honda MotoGP RC212v; by the fourth lap, he dipped under the lap record set by Valentino Rossi in 2008, and was consistent in the 1:33-time bracket
By mid-race, Stoner swapped the lead with his MotoGP teammate Dani Pedrosa, but once he regained the front position he began gapping the field, running alone up front.
Pedrosa then battled with Marco Simoncelli for the lead, but was bumped by Simoncelli as the Italian attempted to pass the Spaniard on the outside of a turn. Pedrosa smashed, breaking his right collarbone.
The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Simoncelli had to undergo a ride-through penatly, and would finish fifth. Behind, Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) was in an intense battle with Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso for second. Dovi would overtake Rossi, and take second. Rossi would take third.
Taka Horio (General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “Casey rode a fantastic MotoGP race today and has shown remarkable pace all weekend, so many congratulations to him and the Repsol Honda Team.
“It is also good for the fans and the sport to see Valentino on the podium for the first time with Ducati. I’d also like to wish Dani a fast and uncomplicated recovery from his injury today and hope that he can return to the championship soon. It is good to see a record number of MotoGP spectators for Le Mans today which is a sign of the appeal and strength of the championship, and I am pleased Bridgestone can support such an exciting series.”
Masao Azuma (Chief Field Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport) says: “All weekend I have been pleased with the performance and consistency of our new soft rear tire, and in the race it again showed its strength. Outright performance was good with the top three riders under the existing lap record, and durability and consistency were also satisfying. Eighteen of Casey’s laps were faster than the existing MotoGP lap record, and in addition to his new total race time record, the top four riders were all faster than last year’s winning total race time.”
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner) says: “I made a terrible start but I was pretty aggressive into the first corner so didn’t lose too much. At the start Dani was being conservative with the left side of his tires but my tires came up to temperature faster than his so I wanted to get past and make an advantage.
“Once I got past him I tried to stay consistent but Dani stayed with me so I had to keep lifting the pace and every time he matched my pace. Then I took a small advantage and was able to sustain those laptimes to the end. It’s been an awesome weekend and I’m really happy with the way the bike is working.”
Bridgestone MotoGP slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium