Stoner Takes Second Straight Victory at Motegi
Ducati Team’s Casey Stoner took his second victory in a row today at Motegi from third on the grid, catapulting himself into an early lead that he never relinquished, despite pressure throughout from pole man Andrea Dovizioso of Repsol Honda who crossed the line in second. In third, Valentino Rossi was victorious in a tooth-and-nail battle with his Fiat Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo after trading paint in the closing stages of what was the most nail-biting fight of the race.
Both riders used the softer rear tyre, but Rossi used the harder front slick whereas Lorenzo opted for the softer compound. As had been indicated all weekend, the overall performance of both option front tyres was very similar, and this was highlighted by the Rossi and Lorenzo battle in which the pair were very evenly matched throughout the 24 laps. Only Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden used the softer option front slick tyres, but all riders favoured the softer rear slicks.
Tohru Ubukata – manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department said: “I’m pleased with tyre performance in today’s race, especially with the consistency of our softer spec rear. Conditions for the race were almost the same as last year but the pace was much faster which indicates the improvement in performance from using our asymmetric rear tyres here. I’m also happy with our tyre compound selection for this grand prix as all weekend we have seen that both specs of rear tyre were performing well and in the race our softer front slick was also very consistent, even in the intense battle between Valentino and Jorge that pushed the tyres to the maximum right to the end of the race.”
Casey Stoner was pleased with his victory: “Today is awesome, and this is a big victory for us. We’ve been struggling a little with setup and were a little bit down on pace going into qualifying, but we took all the data from qualifying and the warm-up and made another little step for the race so huge thanks to the team and everyone. After the first couple of laps I saw the times we could do and thought we had a chance, but we just couldn’t get any distance from Andrea. It was impossible to get any breathing space! But this win means a lot to us and is a big confidence boost going into these next races.”
Meanwhile, Colin Edwards scored his best result of the season in fifth for Monster Yamaha Tech3, triumphing in his own battle with Marco Simoncelli. Teammate Ben Spies finished eighth after recovering from an early off-track excursion with Nicky Hayden, and Loris Capirossi retired having also been fighting with Edwards and Simoncelli.
Mikio Masunaga – vice president and official member of the board, Bridgestone Corporation said: “I would like to congratulate the Ducati Team and Casey Stoner for their excellent victory here today. This year’s Japanese Grand Prix was delayed because of the Iceland volcano but we are very glad that it was rescheduled. We are honoured to have been able to support our second Japanese Grand Prix as MotoGP’s Official Tyre Supplier, and Bridgestone will continue to strive to provide tyres of consistent quality and safety and a fair tyre service to all teams.”