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."