Indianapolis GP: Ducati Friday practice report

STONER STARTS OUT THIRD FASTEST, MELANDRI 14TH AS MOTOGP GETS UNDERWAY AT INDIANAPOLIS As promised by local weather forecasts, the effects of Hurricane Ike were felt as far away as Indiana today, making for a dreary debut for MotoGP at the ...

STONER STARTS OUT THIRD FASTEST, MELANDRI 14TH AS MOTOGP GETS UNDERWAY AT INDIANAPOLIS

As promised by local weather forecasts, the effects of Hurricane Ike were felt as far away as Indiana today, making for a dreary debut for MotoGP at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The opening free practice session, extended by half an hour to give the riders time to learn the track, took place under grey skies and was hampered by constant drizzle that intensified during the afternoon.

Stoner set the third fastest time of the morning session before crashing on his final lap, escaping without injury on one of the recently laid sections of asphalt, where grip levels appear to be lower than other areas of the circuit - a problem exacerbated by the rain. Marco Melandri began making improvements towards the end of the session before finishing with the fourteenth fastest time. Neither rider managed to improve as the conditions worsened in the second session.

CASEY STONER (Ducati MotoGP Team) 3rd: 1'53.190

"The track conditions vary drastically between the old surface and the new. Grip is good on the old stuff but there isn't even minimum grip on the recently laid asphalt and the rain makes it much worse because it isn't draining off. If it continues to rain like it did this afternoon then I'm not sure the conditions will be safe enough to race in. As far as the layout is concerned there are only a couple of critical areas - in particular turn five, where the run-off is very short. There's not much we can do about that right now though - the best thing would be to stick an air-fence in. This morning I crashed on the section where the grip is poorest and that's obviously not good for the wrist but thankfully it didn't create any major problems."

MARCO MELANDRI (Ducati MotoGP Team) 14th: 1'55.292

"I like the design of the circuit - it's fun but unfortunately there are too many different types of asphalt and the new part is definitely the worst, especially with the rain. The bike tends to aquaplane and you can't see anything because of the reflection off the water. Grip on the older part is good, although if it keeps raining it's going to get really difficult. There are two or three dangerous corners: turns one, five and six, where the walls are too close. This morning we started out cautiously but we improved towards the end, whilst this afternoon we didn't get chance to make too many improvements because the conditions were so bad

-credit: ducati.com

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Marco Melandri