Bridgestone Motorsport Wrap for 30th July 2012
Tyre Strategy pays off for Stoner
Casey Stoner took a calculated gamble on tyre strategy at the US MotoGP race at Laguna Seca and it paid off, with the Australian beating Jorge Lorenzo to cut into the Spaniard’s championship lead.
While the rest of the field decided to use Bridgestone’s harder compound tyre, Stoner decided to use the softer rubber to take his fourth win of the season.
The Australian overhauled Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa before passing Lorenzo with 11 laps to go.
Stoner admitted that his ideal tactic had been to make an early break and use his additional grip before later defending a lead, rather than having to come from behind.
"I tried to get to the front as soon as possible. Unfortunately Dani and Jorge got past me at the beginning," he said.
"My plan was to get a good start and see if we could get a small gap with the extra grip. But Jorge was riding some good fast lines and it was a little tricky to go off-line and overtake.
"So I sat back, tried to cool the tyres a little bit, tried to give it a bit of time and give them a break, and slowly pick up the pace again rather than cooking them. We got a little bit more grip out of them and kept it through to the end, made some nice moves during the race.
"I'm very, very happy with the way it all turned out for us and it was nice to do something different to everybody else.”
Track temperatures for the race remained stable at 43°C, which made tyre choice critical. Only six of the 21 riders on the grid selected the harder Bridgestone compound for the rear, while all but three riders selected the harder front slick for the race.
“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,” said Masao Azuma , Chief Engineer with Bridgestone Motorsport’s Tyre Development Department.
“In the end, 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.”
Stoner's win moved him to within 32 points of the championship leader and nine points behind second-placed Pedrosa.
1. Jorge Lorenzo: 205 points
2. Dani Pedrosa: 182 points
3. Casey Stoner: 173 points
4. Andrea Dovizioso: 121 points