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...
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 approach 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."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Today the track temperature was quite high and we started a little bit slowly as we adjusted to the levels of grip for these conditions. We need to find more traction at the rear, so this is something we'll be focusing on for tomorrow. Dani improved in the second half of the session and with further suspension adjustments he can move up the timesheets. Andrea was working on front set-up and found a good direction today, so he too can take strides in FP2 and qualifying tomorrow."