The raindrops that began falling during the final minutes of the opening 125cc practice session were a sign that the following MotoGP practice session wasn’t going to be run on a dry track. But when the skies over Indianapolis did open up before the MotoGP bikes took to the pavement, at least it wasn’t hurricane conditions like last year, so most of the riders took the opportunity to get some wet condition testing done.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa ended up quickest after the hour session ended, with Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden coming in a surprise second and Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo finishing third and fourth respectively.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa...
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa is looking to make it two for two in America with the quickest lap time in the first practice session at Indy.
Pedrosa had positive comments on the Indy circuit’s wet grip. “It was raining all the time during the session but the grip was good—only in some areas where there were some big patches of water was traction not that great, but for the rest of the track, grip was good. We just had a small problem with one of my bikes, but if it’s wet for the race—it looks like the weather is going to get better—we have a pretty good setting to start with. But if it’s dry, that’s another story.” Pedrosa remarked about the Indianapolis circuit’s unusual layout due to its counterclockwise direction from the original Formula One design. “It’s different…especially because the racetrack was designed the opposite way from what we’re running, so the apexes of the corners are really strange.”
Even though it was wet pavement...
Even though it was wet pavement where he finally felt comfortable on his Ducati, Hayden didn't waste any time making the best of it.
Hayden saw an opportunity to get to the top of the leaderboard when his Ducati actually felt good enough to push the limits on. “It feels good to be near the top again!” exclaimed Hayden. “The bike felt pretty good from the beginning and after trying something new on the other bike, which didn’t work, we went back to the standard setting and went from there. The track was really tricky because there were sections with a lot of standing water and others where the grip was amazing—you had to be really on your toes. Midway through the session a funny line formed—I’m not sure if some kind of chemical came up through the asphalt from when they cleaned it but it was pretty slick. Over the last couple of laps I just went for it because I knew I had a chance to be on top today and this is the highest I’ve been in any session this year." Hayden wasn't fooling himself however, and knows that there's still a lot of hard work ahead. "Truthfully though, I need dry track time because I tend to start the weekend slowly and build up, so to lose a session to the weather is not an advantage to me. We need to start out strong in the morning and go from there. P1 would have been sweet but P2 at just a tenth of a second off gives us reason to smile. I’m delighted to be racing here at Indy so let’s hope tomorrow brings more joy.”
Despite waiting 20 minutes...
Despite waiting 20 minutes before coming out of his garage, Rossi still managed to finish third quickest in the opening practice session on a wet Indy track.
Rossi didn’t come out of his garage until 40 minutes were left in the session in order to keep from putting excessive miles on his engine, due to the new engine restriction rule. “I sat out the first 20 minutes in order to save the engine mileage and by the time I went out it was very wet,” said Rossi. “Unfortunately the track wasn't draining so well where there is new asphalt and in some corners it was quite dangerous with standing water and a risk of aquaplaning. This weather was unlucky but it wasn't such a bad session and our pace and setting in the wet was quite good. We were able to improve the balance of the bike and if the conditions are like this again then we have some ideas to improve further. Luckily however it looks like the weather will be much better and so tomorrow we will start again from zero in the dry!”
Jorge Lorenzo is looking to...
Jorge Lorenzo is looking to stop bleeding points to Rossi after crashing out of the last two races.
Lorenzo echoed Hayden’s comments about adjusting his riding style to the varying grip levels of the Indianapolis circuit. “This track has three kinds of asphalt and in some places the bikes looked like they were at sea!” said Lorenzo. “The riding style was very complicated to get right today, above all in the first two sectors, but anyway I'm quite happy, especially because this is my first start after confirming that I'll stay with Yamaha next year and I'm proud to be here. I felt quite confident today even in the bad weather but hopefully tomorrow the sun will shine and we can see where we are in the dry.”
Edwards wasn't about to rush...
Edwards wasn't about to rush into things at Indy in the wet, and took his time getting up to speed. He ended up eighth.
Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards took his time getting used to the conditions, and finished in eighth position at the end of the session. “This place really freaks me out because some sections of the track look really slippery,” revealed Edwards. “But in reality there is so much grip that you can ride almost like it's dry. You can be so aggressive in some parts that at the start you have to convince yourself just how hard you can push. The track is so wet it looks like a mirror but that's where you can really attack with such good grip. You just have to take bigger bites each lap and how fast you go depends if you hit some of the standing water on the new sections.” He took heart in the fact that the weather forecast for the weekend is sunny. "Thankfully the forecast is for dry weather for the rest of the weekend, but if it changes I'm sure we've got a really good wet setting and we definitely learned some things that will help for the future.”
Finishing positions, first MotoGP practice:
- 1. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1:51.507
- 2. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1:51.662
- 3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:51.814
- 4. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1:51.894
- 5. Alex De Angelis Honda 1:52.264
- 6. James Toseland Yamaha 1:52.888
- 7. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1:52.928
- 8. Colin Edwards Yamaha 1:53.128
- 9. Andrea Dovisioso Honda 1:53.151
- 10. Marco Melandri Kawasaki 1:53.590