Stoner triumphs in tricky conditions at Catalunya
Casey Stoner used the harder rear compound Potenza to win from second on the grid for the Repsol Honda Team ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies in a double podium for the Yamaha Factory Racing team. The Catalunya Grand Prix weekend was punctuated by rain showers, and heavy rain overnight left the circuit soaked for the morning’s warm-up session, which was the first time this season that Bridgestone’s hard compound wet tyres have been used. The circuit dried through the day however and the MotoGP race was run in the dry, although rain threatened at the midway point of the race and the white flags came out as drops fell in the last sector of the circuit.
Tyre choices were mixed with most riders only deciding at the last minute because of the changeable nature of the weather and the temperature. All the front-runners used the harder option front slicks, but rear choices were more varied: Stoner set the fastest lap on the harder, while Dovizioso in fourth and Cal Crutchlow in seventh took that option. Everyone else used the softer rear, marked by the white line painted around the sidewall.
Hiroshi Yamada – manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department: “Once again Casey and the Repsol Honda Team have demonstrated just how strong they are this year, but I’d also like to congratulate the Factory Yamaha team for their double podium, taking Jorge there for the fourth time this season and Ben there for the first time in factory colours. We were largely at the mercy of the weather all weekend, which is unusual for Catalunya, but judging by its popularity during the race I am pleased that we brought the medium compound rear to this race this year.”
Hirohide Hamashima – assistant to director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division: “Track conditions this weekend have in general been more slippery, and certainly the heavy overnight rain didn’t help track condition for the race today. Actually it made the track condition worse and this led to many riders commenting that they didn’t have enough grip. The rain drops mid-race made it very tricky for the riders, especially as areas of the circuit were greasy and others still dry. I am pleased that we saw all our tyre options in use today, and the performance of both rear specs was comparable on different bikes, but this also clearly demonstrates how different bike and rider packages can use our tyres in different ways and the importance of optimising the entire bike, rider and tyre package to achieve good performance, durability and consistency over race distance.”
Casey Stoner – Repsol Honda Team – race winner: “Everything’s been working so well here it’s like a dream. The bike and hard compound tyres were working well for us all weekend and we knew we had good race pace. There is a lot of degradation on this track so I tried to hold the pace we had in qualifying and get some consistent laps in whilst the tyres were good. Then the rain came and I didn’t know how hard to push. The track hasn’t been very grippy all weekend so it was a little nerve wracking because it would have been very easy to come down in those conditions. I’m very happy to bring it home for another win.”