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Bridgestone set for final race of successful season

Bridgestone set for final race of successful season

Bridgestone set for final race of successful season

Bridgestone's most successful season at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing comes to a conclusion this weekend in Spain, at the final event of this year's highly competitive 17-race MotoGP championship. Suzuki, Kawasaki and Ducati have all contributed to the three wins, six pole positions and nine podiums achieved on Bridgestone rubber so far this season with Ducati's Loris Capirossi staking his claim to the trio of wins, including Bridgestone's debut victories on European soil at Jerez and Brno, as well as a dominant win at the corporation's home race in Motegi, Japan last month.

Suzuki's pairing of John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen have scored their debut pole positions on Bridgestone qualifiers with an incredible three poles between them. Hopkins took the honours in Assen and rookie Vermeulen led the field in the wet at Turkey and in the scorching heat of Laguna Seca. Vermeulen also scored his debut MotoGP podium in his home race at Phillip Island with a sensational second place. Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano has enjoyed four front row starts so far in 2006, one of which he was able to convert brilliantly into a runner-up podium position in Assen.

Sete Gibernau - who is unable to participate in his final race for Ducati in Valencia after requiring further treatment to a collarbone injury aggravated by a crash in the Portuguese GP - also has three front row starts and five top five race results to his credit in 2006, including a spectacular pole in Mugello.

Hiroshi Yamada, Motorcycle Racing Manager, analysed the track ahead of Sunday's race.

"Valencia is a short track, but also a demanding one with its asymmetrical layout and composition of slower corners which place a premium on edge grip. We have nine left-hand corners and five right-handers over 30 laps, so performance and durability on the left-hand side of tyre will be important, especially through the final corner. Of the 17 venues on the calendar, Valencia is one of five that is run in an anticlockwise direction which inevitably adds to the disparity between left and right-handers. "We have enjoyed a competitive season with some excellent race results on Bridgestone rubber including those three victories with Ducati and Loris. However, all three of our teams have demonstrated their potential with highlights for Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki throughout the season. We are putting our full resource and efforts into this weekend's race, as we do at every event, to support our teams in the best way possible. We are sorry that Sete is not able to race due to his ongoing injuries, but we wish him a quick and full recovery."

"All eyes will be on our rivals as the championship reaches its thrilling culmination, but we hope to see Bridgestone-shod riders in the hunt for some good results this weekend. We started the season with a victory in Spain, our first on European ground, so we will also be targeting a strong Spanish result to cap off our most successful MotoGP season to date"


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