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Bridgestone felt pressure for Rossi victory

Bridgestone felt pressure for Rossi victory

Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone had the weight of history adding to their task of providing Valentino Rossi with race-winning tyres at Mugello.

Aiming for their first Italian victory and with the need to keep Valentino Rossi´s Mugello winning streak alive, Bridgestone were under pressure on Sunday. Delight and relief were experienced by the Japanese tyre manufacturer upon experiencing a one-two at the Gran Premio d´Italia Alice, with Ducati´s Casey Stoner taking second place behind the local hero.

`What a great result. It is fantastic to see two Bridgestone riders on the top two steps of the podium for the first time this season,´ said Motorcycle Sport Unit Manager Hiroshi Yamada as the victory sank in. Valentino produced one of his trademark Mugello performances and his victory was a great achievement. With Valentino´s unbeaten record in Mugello, and his pole position from Saturday, we were under a lot of pressure today, so I am glad our tyres were up to the job.´

The Japanese boss also reserved special plaudits for Stoner and another Bridgestone newcomer, MotoGP rookie Alex de Angelis. The latter´s fourth place is the highest finish for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team thus far in 2008, with the satellite outfit running the only Bridgestone-shod Honda bikes on the premier class grid.

`Ducati and Casey must also be praised for a great weekend and second place in their home GP. I am very happy that Casey could play such a prominent role in today´s race,´ added Yamada. `Alex de Angelis was another standout ride this afternoon in fourth, so well done to him; to see Honda Gresini back on the pace is a testament to our ongoing co-operation. The atmosphere in Mugello is always very special but Valentino and Casey made it extra special for me today.´

From a technical standpoint, Race Tyre Development Manager Tohru Ubukata emphasised the tough task faced not just by the weight of history on Bridgestone shoulders, but also some tricky weather conditions experienced in Italy.

`We have continued to work hard to improve the grip and performance of our tyres, but the bad weather this weekend made life quite difficult. With such little dry running, we were not able to assess the performance of our latest specification tyres over longer runs, so the durability over the full race distance was encouraging,´ concluded Ubukata.

MotoGP, 2008

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