Ducati Team's Casey Stoner has started his 2010 season strongly, at a circuit where he has taken victory every year since 2007 on Bridgestone tyres. After the first 60 minutes of free practice at Losail, he favoured the harder option Bridgestone slicks to record the fastest time of
the session, just over 0.2seconds off his pole position time from 2009.
Completing the top three were the Fiat Yamaha pairing of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, separated by just 0.002seconds. Both riders also set their fastest time using the harder Bridgestone slicks. Once again, this season the softer option slicks are distinguishable from the harder options by a white line painted around each sidewall on the softer front and rear tyres.
In a change to the tyre regulations for this season, after the end of this first session every rider can now choose their favoured compound for the final two front tyres they receive from their total allocation of eight. Before the session every rider received six front tyres in three of each compound; medium and extra hard. Now that they have had a chance to get a feel for how each compound is working for them this race weekend, they can select an additional two front tyres of their preferred compound to use for the rest of the weekend.
Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
"The condition of the circuit was much better today than it was during the test here last month, so there was no problem with graining today even on the softer compound slicks. Durability was consequently good, and some riders, including Casey, completed the session using just one set of tyres.
"Even though the circuit was relatively clean and free from sand, most riders favoured the harder options because of the increased stability they offer under heavy braking as a result of the harder and stiffer rubber. Some riders used the softer compounds at the end of the session though to record their fastest laps, so this demonstrates that in these conditions there is a good overlap in terms of performance between both slick tyre compounds we have brought to Qatar and the wide working range of our tyres."