It's a delta, not an absolute temperature. The difference between 55 degrees C (~130 deg F) and 41 degrees C (~105 deg F) is about 25 degrees F, not 60.
However, the main heat exhaust is about 55 degrees C in both cases, meaning about the same amount of heat is being vented out, which means they're probably running about the same temperature internally. Given the location of the measuring point on the Blu-Ray drive, it's not surprising that it's significantly hotter when standing vertical, as it's near the top of the unit where a lot of heat will go.
I'm sure somebody enterprising could find a tool to pull the SMART data from the hard drive in Linux. That would at least give an indication of the HDA temeprature, which would be quite different if there really were a 15C delta inside the box. I'm not sure of another simple, accurate, internal measuring sensor that's accessible in the PS3.