Stoner claims Laguna Seca victory on soft rear slick
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner claimed victory from behind as he rolled the dice on a softer rear tyre than his championship rivals at Laguna Seca. Approaching the race differently to his main championship rivals Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and teammate Dani Pedrosa, Stoner trailed Lorenzo for most of the race, but having managed his tyres well he was able to exploit the extra rear grip on offer to pass Lorenzo down the main straight on the entry to turn one on lap twenty-two. While only six of the twenty-one riders on the grid selected the harder compound for the rear, the four riders between second and fifth all chose the medium compound Bridgestone tyre. Stoner remains in third position in the riders standings, though his fourth victory of the season means he narrows the gap to Lorenzo to thirty-two points and just nine to Pedrosa.
Stoner said: “We knew with the soft tyre we had to be gentle to start with, though I tried to get to the front as soon as possible but Dani and Jorge got in front of me at the start. Jorge was riding well and taking good lines, so I sat back and tried to slowly pick up the pace. Eventually I could get past and the race was surprisingly similar to last year so it was good to get another win here.”
Hiroshi Yamada, manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department, said: “Congratulations to Casey on his fourth win of the season and Repsol Honda for once again having both riders on the podium. The quick pace we witnessed on Friday and Saturday continued today, with Dani setting a new fastest lap record on lap five and the overall race time was six seconds quicker than last year. It was another good crowd here at Laguna Seca and it is always good to see how much MotoGP is supported in the United States. This is a challenging circuit for riders with its highly variable weather between the morning and afternoon sessions and I am pleased that our tyre allocation helped riders manage the conditions comfortably.”
Masao Azuma, chief engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department, said: “Today’s race was held under very similar conditions to Friday and Saturday and with cloud cover once again being heavy this morning, tyre choice, particularly for the rear was not clear for the riders until right before the race as teams monitored track temperatures before making a final decision. In the end, six out of the twenty-one riders selected the harder option rear slick, though both rear tyre compounds worked very well during the race, with Dani setting the fastest lap on the harder rear slick early in the race and Casey winning on the softer rear option.”