In the first qualifying session of the season to be run in wet conditions, Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi took his third pole position of 2009 with a great last lap effort on Bridgestone’s wet tyres. Using the hard compound Bridgestone wets, Rossi’s pole time was 0.2seconds quicker than the fastest lap of last year’s wet race.
Rain fell steadily throughout the session, and standing water resulting from torrential rain that fell after the morning’s practice made the Sachsenring circuit incredibly tricky. As a result, all riders used Bridgestone’s wet tyres. The session marked the first time this season that the hard compound wets have been used, and their warm-up performance and ability to clear water from the soaked tarmac was really tested.
The track temperature for the qualifying session was 14 degrees Celsius lower than it was during yesterday’s mixed condition free practice, and pools of standing water mid-corner further added to the challenge of the conditions.
Fastest in the morning’s free practice on hard front and extra hard rear Bridgestone slicks, Jorge Lorenzo will start tomorrow’s race from second, continuing his perfect record of front-row starts since his switch to Bridgestone tyres this season.
Ducati Team’s Casey Stoner was third followed by teammate Nicky Hayden in his best qualifying performance of the year. It was very close in the midfield at the end of the session, with just half a second separating San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alex de Angelis in fifth from Monster Yamaha Tech3’s James Toseland in 14th position.
Tohru Ubukata – Bridgestone Motorsport – Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
“The amount of water on the track today was very high, and considering this the laptimes were faster than I expected. The warm-up performance of the wet tyres was quite good, even though the conditions were much cooler today, and I am happy with the working temperature range of the hard compound wet tyres. Between yesterday and today we have seen two very different conditions for our wet tyres to deal with – the first free practice was damp and drying and today there was much standing water, yet in both instances our wets performed very well.
“This morning’s free practice also allowed us to compare our harder compound slick tyres as some riders tried both options. Yesterday the softer of the options was the fastest, yet this morning in colder conditions the extra hard slicks were even faster so I am pleased with the versatility and wide operating range our tyres are showing this season. If conditions tomorrow are dry, we can expect both compounds of slick tyre to be used in the race.”