BRIDGESTONE HELPS CASEY GO BACK-TO-BACK
Australia's Casey Stoner has continued his excellent late-season form with his second victory in a row, this time at the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.
Starting his Ducati on Bridgestone's hard compound front tyre and medium rear, Stoner catapulted from third on the grid into a lead that he would never relinquish, leading home pole-sitter Andrea Dovizioso on a Honda.
"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," Stoner said.
"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."
Valentino Rossi traded paint with Spain's Jorge Lorenzo in the closing stages of what was the most nail-biting fight of the race. Both riders used the softer Bridgestone rear tyre, but Rossi used the harder front slick whereas Lorenzo opted for the softer compound and it was the Italian who grabbed the final podium position.
"I'm pleased with tyre performance in the race, especially with the consistency of our softer spec rear," said Tohru Ubukata, Manager of the Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department.
"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."
Lorenzo extended his lead in the title race because second-placed Dani Pedrosa did not race following an accident in Friday's practice session which left him with a broken collar bone. Lorenzo now has a 69-point lead over his nearest rival and can secure the title if he finishes ninth or better in next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, assuming Pedrosa misses the race with his injury.