U.S. Grand Prix, Laguna Seca: Bridgestone Qualifying Review
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl claimed his first ever MotoGP™ pole position as the German star posted a time of 1’21.176 to lead an all-Honda front row at tomorrow’s United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Bradl set his pole-winning time on his penultimate lap in QP2 to relegate Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez to second place by just 0.017 seconds. Rounding out the front row was GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista who achieved his best qualifying result this season by setting a time of 1’21.373 to qualify in third place. The highest placed CRT qualifier at Laguna Seca was Aleix Espargaro whose best qualification time was just 0.923 seconds off Bradl’s benchmark effort and sees the Power Electronics Aspar rider line up on the grid in eleventh position for the race.
Weather conditions at Laguna Seca were similar to yesterday, with morning fog and cool temperatures during FP3 before sunshine and warmer temperatures broke through in the afternoon for FP4 and qualifying. Laguna Seca requires good acceleration out of the slower corners and good front-end stability to tame the changes in direction and elevation, hence the predominant tyre combination during qualifying was the softer option rear slick paired with the harder front slick. This same combination will feature heavily in tomorrow’s race, although some CRT riders evaluate their harder option rear slick and may select this for the race if high track temperatures occur.
The lights will go out for tomorrow’s thirty-two lap MotoGP™ race at 1400 local time (GMT -7) with the teams having their final opportunity to perfect their setup for the race during Morning Warm Up at 1040.
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Medium. Rear: Extra-soft (Symmetric), Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 – Dry. Ambient 12-13°C; Track 26-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP – Dry. Ambient 15-15°C; Track 42-44°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today’s weather and track conditions were similar to yesterday so teams had a good understanding of how the tyres would perform today. With the dry track the riders were able to do race simulations on their preferred tyre combination, with almost all riders using the harder front slick paired with the softer rear slick. However, some CRT riders evaluated their harder rear slick option during FP4 and the feedback was positive, so we could see some riders in this class select this option for the race, especially if we have higher than expected track temperatures. The works riders concentrated on finding a setup to get consistent performance out of the soft compound rear slick and I think this will be the popular rear tyre for tomorrow’s race.”
Source: Bridgestone Motorsport