STONER AND HAYDEN START OUT ON TOP AT INDY
Ducati Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden made an impressive start to the Indianapolis GP today, clocking the fastest and third fastest times respectively in the first free practice. Stoner wasted little time getting to grips with the famous 'Brickyard' track despite missing the event here last year through illness - his fastest lap came on the 15th of 22 and made him the only rider to dip below the 1'42 mark today.
Hayden's impressive progress was halted twelve minutes from the end of the hour when a high speed lowside sent him sliding into the gravel. The crash came moments after the local favourite had set his best time of the session, an effort that firmly establishes him as a potential frontrunner in Sunday's race.
Casey Stoner (Ducati Team) 1st (1'40.884)
"For the first two laps I didn't remember anything about the track from two years ago but after that it all came back pretty quickly! This is quite a unique circuit because of the different types of surface and the amount of bumps out there so we had to improvise a little today because it's not easy to pick the right line. We made a good start but I'm sure everybody will work things out better tomorrow and close the gap. Having said that this is a good situation to be in on the first day and for the first time in a while we feel there is potential to improve. We tried the new front fork today that we tested in Brno and it felt good, although this is not the kind of circuit where you can really push so it's hard to say if it improved the package."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 3rd (1'41.405)
"At the start of the session I was feeling really good and I was going quite fast on a hard tyre. When we put the soft tyre in I felt even better and maybe got a little too excited because that's when I made a mistake. I was off line a little but I didn't force it, I just let it go because it's only first practice but 'bam'! I was down immediately. It was a bummer because my suspension guy had come up with some settings that were working really good and I really liked the feel. At least I didn't do any more damage to the wrist - all I got was a friction burn on my arm from digging it in trying to save the wrist. It's nothing major though and after finding a good base setting today I'm looking forward to possibly trying the new forks tomorrow."
Circuit Record: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha - 2009), 1'40.152 - 151.545 km/h
Best Pole: Dani Pedrosa ( Honda - 2009), 1'39.730 - 152.186 km/h
Confident start for Edwards and Spies at sun-drenched Indianapolis
Colin Edwards and Ben Spies made a fast and confident start to the Indianapolis MotoGP weekend today, the American duo immediately able to set a competitive pace in opening practice.
Edwards will set a personal milestone on home soil on Sunday when he becomes only the 13th rider in history to start 130 premier class races. And he made an impressive start to the landmark weekend at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 36-year-old concentrated on fine-tuning a revised front-end geometry setting he first used in Brno earlier this month on board his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine.
Edwards was a persistent threat in the top six throughout the session, which was run in gloriously sunny conditions that saw air temperatures hit 28 degrees. The Texan was as high as third in the final 20 minutes and his best time of 1.41.664 left him just 0.041s behind reigning world champion Valentino Rossi in sixth place overall.
Edwards though was delighted with his progress today and his lap times bode well for a strong showing in Sunday's 28-lap race after he finished top non-factory rider.
Just as impressive was team-mate Spies, who wasted no time in establishing himself in the top three in the early stages. Spies gave a sun-soaked and sizeable home crowd reason to cheer from the off when he topped the timesheets in the opening 15 minutes.
Spies, who will move to Yamaha's factory squad in 2011 after a fantastic first full season in MotoGP with the Monster Y amaha Tech 3 squad, was always in contention for a top three position as he reeled off a series of consistently fast laps on race tyres.
Not even a late crash could take the shine off a productive afternoon for the 26-year-old, who ended in eighth position, a result that certainly didn't reflect his true potential.
Spies lost the front-end of his YZR-M1 machine after hitting a bumpy section at turn six and he ended with a best time of 1.41.722 to finish less than one-tenth behind Edwards.
Colin Edwards 6th 1.41.664 - 24 laps
"I'm really happy with that session because the bike felt good and that's the main thing. We've had so many races this year where I've struggled finding a good set-up quickly and we've been trying to catch up right from the first session. But the front-end setting we first tried in B rno is working well here too, so it seems like we made a big breakthrough at the last race. Now I can hold good corner speed instead of fighting the bike, and I feel more confident and comfortable. I've always said this season that if the bike is working underneath me, I can still ride it fast. And that is the case now. I got my best result of the season with seventh in Brno and that gave me some momentum. We've just got to carry it on and show what we are capable of."
Ben Spies 8th 1.41.722 - 25-laps
"I'm actually pretty happy with that session even though it ended not so great with the crash. I'm not too upset because it was one of those crashes that I know what I did wrong. There's a bump going into turn six and I turned in a little too early. I knew I was turning in too early but I thought I wasn't pushing the front hard enough to make a difference. But as soon as I hit the bump I lost the front. I missed the last five minutes and I definitely could have gone quicker because the bike was working good and I felt good. I was right up there all the time but I just made a mistake. Without that I'm sure I could have gone three or four tenths faster and been in a better position. But I did quite a lot of consistent fast laps and we have a lot of good data on race tyres, so it was a good start to the weekend."
LORENZO AND ROSSI SECOND AND FIFTH IN INDIANAPOLIS SUNSHINE
The first free practice of the Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend was run in blazing sunshine at the Motor Speedway today, with Fiat Yamaha Team riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi finishing the day in second and fifth positions. The fastest time of the day was set by Casey Stoner, just two tenths ahead of Lorenzo.
Last year's race winner Lorenzo felt confident from the outset and was at the top of the time sheets for three quarters of the session before Stoner just edged him out. The young Spaniard made some subtle tweaks to his setting to better suit the flat nature of this track and also had time to try both Bridgestone race tyres, about which he already feels confident of his direction for Sunday.
Rossi struggled a little more today, lacking grip on the bumpy surface and lacking pace as a result. He and his team will make a detailed examination of the data tonight to try to find a way to improve their setting so they are in a position to challenge for the front row in tomorrow afternoon's qualifying session.
Both Fiat Yamaha riders are once again running the special ?Fiat 500' livery that was showcased in Laguna Seca earlier this season. The livery celebrates the forthcoming launch of the Fiat 500 in the United States and features the smiling faces of 500 Rossi and Lorenzo fans on each bike.
Position: 2nd Time: 1'41.109 Laps: 26
"I rode really well today and improved a lot during the practice. The rear was sliding a lot, maybe because the temperature is so high; it's a lot hotter than last year! I think the level between the top riders here is more or less the same and everyone is looking very strong. Then everyone will improve further tomorrow and we must make sure we do so as well. It will be a good battle! Finally I want to say congratulations to Ben Spies, next year he will join the Factory Team and I think it's great news for him and for Yamaha."
Position: 5th Time: 1'41.623 Laps: 27
"My physical condition is much better here; I so still have some pain but it's not too bad so I am not worried. I am feeling confident on the bike but we have to improve our setting in order to improve our pace because we are lacking some grip here. It's not an easy track because there are a lot of bumps. We did quite a lot of work today but it wasn't enough and the gap to the top is too much. Our target for tomorrow morning is to close this gap so that we're in better shape to push for a good position on the grid."
SUNNY INDY SEES PEDROSA IN FOURTH, DOVIZIOSO SEVENTH
The Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend began in hot and sunny conditions today as the MotoGP teams rolled up the garage shutters for the first practice session ahead of Sunday's 28-lap race. Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso spent the hour-long period narrowing down the set-up options for their Honda RC212V race bikes at the 4.216km circuit, set in the spectacular surrounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Pedrosa finished the session in fourth position, with Dovizioso three places further back. Both riders are confident of improvements tomorrow.
Pedrosa initially struggled a little to find his rhythm as he searched for more rear grip in the hot conditions, before upping his pace in the latter half of the session. With the bumps and surface changes at this track presenting a particular set of problems to the MotoGP riders, Pedrosa then chose to stay out on track and work on his line in order to understand the best approa ch for the Indy circuit. The 24-year-old Spaniard, who was fastest in all three practice sessions at Indianapolis last year, is confident that tomorrow he can close the half second gap to today's fast rider, Casey Stoner.
Dovizioso started today's session by continuing the front suspension comparison work which he and his crew began at the post-race test in Brno two weeks ago. Confident he has found the right direction, the 24-year-old Italian then began assessing the Bridgestone tyre options available at Indianapolis and upped his pace in the closing minutes - setting his fastest time on his first flying lap on Bridgestone's harder option rear. With more laps on this tyre tomorrow, Dovizioso is sure there's more to come in the remaining two practice and qualifying sessions.
DANI PEDROSA - 4th - 1m 41.421s +0.537s
"This track is very bumpy and also you can really feel the changes in the surface, but this is no different to last year. Today the big difference was that the temperature of the asphalt was higher and this made it quite slippery. We were lacking a little traction at the rear and we also have to improve our set-up on the brakes - so this is our homework for tomorrow. At the beginning of the session I struggled to get into a good rhythm and to feel comfortable in these conditions, so in the second half of the session I stayed out on the bike to better understand the right line and where the bumps are. I tried only the softer option Bridgestone today so tomorrow I will ride with the hard one because the right tyre choice will be very important for the race of course. I think we can make progress tomorrow."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - 7th - 1m 41.683s +0.799s
"We weren't really going for ultimate lap times today and so I think we made a good start - tomorrow we can improve quite a lot because our lap times this afternoon aren't indicative of our full potential. We began today with some further comparison tests between the modified forks and the fork we have been using so far this season, and this took some time, but it was important for us to understand the direction to follow. In the end we chose the existing fork. We did our best lap time with the hard option Bridgestone, but I did only one fast lap on that tyre so there's more to come and I'm confident for tomorrow. We will continue working on the electronics set-up especially, but I'm confident we've found a good base."
GP of INDIANAPOLIS - Free Practice - 27/08/2010
WARM SUNSHINE MAKES FOR IDEAL CONDITIONS ON DAY ONE AT INDIANAPOLIS
Perfect weather welcomed MotoGP to Indianapolis today, where Team San Carlo Honda Gresini's two riders worked hard on the set-up of their machines and gathered important data ahead of tomorrow's qualifying. Marco Melandri found a good base set-up despite still struggling to find the ideal compromise for his new electronic package. Marco Simoncelli worked on two slightly different solutions on his Honda RC212V and will choose which aspects he prefers before further developing his setting tomorrow.
Marco Melandri (10° 1´ 42" 147) "We've struggled again today with the electronics - unfortunately the bike isn't responding properly to the throttle. The connection isn't there and the traction control feels strange and unpredictable. Other than that the general set-up of the bike is working well so we have to see what we can do tomorrow ahead of the race. The team is giving everything and I will do my bit to be focused and determined to make sure we come out with a good result on Sunday."
Marco Simoncelli (11° 1´ 42" 268) "I'm quite satisfied that we got through the work we had planned for today. We tried two different solutions for the bike and tomorrow we'll try to find a compromise. We worked well and gathered a lot of positive feedback today. We are not too far from the front guys and tomorrow we'll try to move up the classification."
Fausto Gresini "We're working hard with both riders to find a good set-up for this track and we completed the work we had planned for today. Obviously we still have a lot to do and we're a little behind but we have a lot of useful data that we will try to transform into something positive tomorrow and hopefully that will move us back up to the positions where we belong."
Rizla Suzuki looking for more at Indianapolis
Rizla Suzuki will be looking to make big improvements during tomorrow's final free practice session after a tough first hour on the track at Indianapolis today left both riders with work to do.
Álvaro Bautista (P14, 1'42.696, 26 laps) used today's only session to get his bearings around the 4,216m Indianapolis Motor Speedway on a MotoGP bike. Having only previously visited the circuit on a 250cc machine, he needed time to get used to the track and find his braking and accelerating points. Bautista recorded his fastest lap right at the end of the session and is in a determined mood to make personal improvements for the rest of the weekend.
Loris Capirossi (P15, 1'42.790, 24 laps) had a torrid afternoon as his first bike had a small mechanical issue that couldn't be rectified for him to continue to use it and his other machine didn't give him the feel he was looking for around the American circuit. Capirossi and his crew will use all the data from today to hopefully make sure the settings are more to his liking and riding style for tomorrow's two sessions.
Today's practise was held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 51ºC. Casey Stoner on his factory Ducati recorded the fastest time of the day.
Rizla Suzuki has one more practice session tomorrow morning, followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 28 lap race gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (19.00hrs GMT).
"This was my first time around here on a MotoGP bike and it was very different from the 250 - especially the first corner because you go in there very fast. I used this practice very much as a learning session and to get my reference points sorted for the rest of the weekend. I need to get more rear grip from the bike because when I put on the gas in the middle of the corner I feel that the bike is sliding too much. Also the entry to the corner is not what I want, because if I enter quick I am unable to turn the bike how I want to and I lose too much time. Tomorrow we will work on these things and although we know it will be hard work I think we can improve the bike and I also know I need to improve myself as well."
"The best way to set-up our bike is to just keep running as long as we can and do as many laps as possible, but today on the second run on the first bike we had a bit of a problem and had to change to the other machine. Unfortunately it had quite a different setting and I just couldn't get on with it. We will use the data we got from the runs though and it will help us to understand what we have to do tomorrow. Today has not been too good, but we are a lot more positive about things for the rest of the weekend.
Tom O'Kane - Álvaro Bautista's Crew Chief:
"We used the new chassis in Álvaro's bike today, but we didn't make as big a step as we expected to when we swapped to the softer compound tyre. For tomorrow we will be working a lot on rear grip because Álvaro is struggling to get the feel he wants all the way through the turns and to get the best out of the soft tyre. We are really hoping to improve the bike on corner entry, because some of the corners tighten up a lot here and we really need to make the bike turn much better. Overall though we are pleased with Álvaro's first day at Indianapolis and now he's got this session under his belt I am sure he will be much stronger tomorrow and for the race on Sunday."