Stoner off to a flyer in Indianapolis
Casey Stoner started the weekend fastest at Indianapolis with a best lap of 1'40.884 in the first practice, the only rider in the hour-long session to get under the 1'41" mark. The Australian was running with the new front fork on his Desmosedici GP10 which he tested at Brno, and the result appeared to be more than positive as he enjoyed solid control over his machine.
Last year's race winner Jorge Lorenzo was quick throughout the practice and led until 15 minutes from the end, his best time of 1'41.109 eventually leaving him 0.225s off Stoner as the Fiat Yamaha rider prepared to try and stretch his 77-point Championship lead this weekend.
Nicky Hayden, keen to impress his home crowd, got off to a positive start as he set the third best time but inside the final 15 minutes he went down at turn 13, a worrying moment for the Ducati Team rider as he protected the left wrist he injured at Brno. The American escaped further damage to his arm despite landing on it, and was back out on track as he held onto third spot at just over half a second off his team-mate.
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, who was in fast form at last year's Indy meeting, was fourth quickest as he led his factory RC212V around in a best time of 1'41.421. That placed the Spaniard four-hundredths of a second ahead of reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi, who was fifth on his Fiat Yamaha M1.
The American presence was enforced by Colin Edwards as the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider went sixth fastest, with Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and another home favourite Ben Spies in the top eight. Rookie Spies had a crash with six minutes remaining but walked away unharmed having been the final rider to get within a second of Stoner, on the day his ride with the factory Yamaha team for 2011 was announced.
The top ten in the session was completed by Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Racing) and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), with Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) 16th on his return to competitive action after nine weeks out injured.