Gordon Hatch, MotoGP Correspondent
Repsol Honda rider tops the timesheets ahead of Spies and Lorenzo
Dani Pedrosa ended day one at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on top of the timings with the Repsol Honda rider being followed into second and third place by Yamaha Factory Racing teammates Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo respectively. Pedrosa was fast from the off this morning while Spies looks determined to provide a strong performance this weekend following his announcement that he is leaving the Yamaha Factory Racing team at the end of this year.
We found a good base today to move on from; we can improve every area still.
Pedrosa’s best lap of 1m 39.783s couldn’t be bettered by Spies whose best lap of 1m 40.078s was nearly half a second better than Lorenzo’s time of 1m 40.502s. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso ended his first day in 4th place and lapped the famous Brickyard circuit in a best time of 1m 40.560s and finished ahead of Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner who couldn’t post a better time of 1m 40.623s with the Australian switching bikes near the end of the session.
Cal Crutchlow concluded his first day in 6th place for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad and the British rider’s time of 1m 41.055s was better than San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista (1m 41.072s). Stefan Bradl set the 8th best fastest time of 1m 41.255s on his LCR Honda ahead of Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden in 9th with a best time of 1m 41.397s and Valentino Rossi who finished in 10th with a best lap of 1m 41.529s amidst the worldwide media frenzy surrounding his move to Yamaha next year.
Randy De Puniet was the fastest CRT rider on day one in 11th place with a best lap of 1m 41.855s for the Power Electronics Aspar team with Karel Abraham making a return to action after a long lay-off due to hand injuries and managed a best time of 1m 42.279s on his Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati. Speedmaster’s Mattia Pasini ended up in 13th with a best lap of 1m 42.290s ahead of Aleix Espargaro (1m 42.360s) for the Power Electronics Aspar team in 14th ahead of Yonny Hernandez in 15th for the Avintia Blusens team setting a best lap of 1m 42.761s.
Michele Pirro in 16th on his San Carlo Honda Gresini CRT machine (1m 42.761s) ahead of Toni Elias (1'43.095s) who was drafted in by the Pramac Racing Team to fill in for Hector Barbera who had to be taken to hospital with damaged 5th, 6th and 8th dorsal vertebrae in his back after a highside in this morning’s session. NGM Forward Racing rider Colin Edwards set a best lap of 1m 43.813s ahead of Avintia Blusens rider Ivan Silva in 19th on a best time of 1m 44.122s.
James Ellison finished in 20th setting a best time of 1m 44.127s while Came Ioda Racing rider Danilo Petrucci recorded a best time of 1m 44.609s. Wildcard entry Aaron Yates managed to finish in 22nd GPTech after setting a best time of 1'46.021s while Steve Rapp didn’t manage to set a time this afternoon with technical difficulties for the Attack Performance team.
Speaking after lapping under the current lap record set in last year’s race by his teammate., Pedrosa remained focused on improving his race setup. “This afternoon the track was a little better than in the morning and we were able to improve our lap times quite a lot and also try the hard tyres, which worked much better than the soft specification we tried this morning. As we saw today, the times will keep dropping during the weekend with more rubber on the asphalt, so we have to continue working hard on the bike. We found a good base today to move on from; we can improve every area still, focusing especially on the suspension and electronics and also care about the tyres because it's very hot out there and the tyres dropped off very quick,” Pedrosa said.
Spies was very happy with his first day at his home track saying, “The track definitely made a huge improvement from the morning to the afternoon today. The bike is working really well, we made some small changes then just worked on race set up. We used hard tyres for the whole time and were able to set our fastest lap and be consistent with a lot of laps on the tyres, which is encouraging. We’ll try the softer tyres tomorrow to see if we can pick up some speed for qualifying but for the race set up the bike is good.”
Lorenzo wasn’t very happy with his first outing today and said, “We were better this afternoon than this morning. We managed to get closer to the first position. I didn’t feel great on the track today so I hope we can improve the feeling for tomorrow. This track seems to be quite difficult for us to find a good set up. I’m struggling on the entry to the corners where I don’t seem to have much grip.”