Extra Special Results Michelin riders Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) and Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) took superb second- and third-place finishes in this afternoon's inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix, run in ...
Extra Special Results
Michelin riders Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) and Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) took superb second- and third-place finishes in this afternoon's inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix, run in extremely wet and windy conditions. The result was extra special for Lorenzo, who had never finished a wet race on the podium at any stage of his career.
Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) also had an excellent race, leading the first lap, then battling with Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici). The Italian eventually finished fifth, less than a second behind the reigning World Champion.
Hayden led the first half, then slipped to second behind Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1). The rain increased after half-distance and then the red flags came out at two-thirds distance when a large section of track signage was blown from its moorings. The race had got underway despite the lingering effects of Hurricane Ike which brought heavy rain and strong winds to Indianapolis around lunchtime. The track quickly became flooded, the organisers deploying special jet-engined equipment to clear the worst of the surface water.
Conditions were further complicated by the nature of the track surface which features two distinctly different types of tarmac. The tarmac in the first section offers minimal grip and very low wear, while the rest of the track offers excellent grip and is very aggressive on tyres. Tyre technicians thus have to make a major compromise -- choosing tyres that will deliver enough grip on the slippery tarmac and hold together on the grippy tarmac.
"We chose quite hard tyres because the major part of the track is grippy and aggressive," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "I think we made the right choice because Nicky, Jorge and Andrea all had excellent races, though Nicky and Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) chose slightly softer rears than the others. We are happy that our riders were able to perform well today. This is a tricky track and conditions were incredibly difficult, the wind and the rain changing all the time. Then when it started raining heavily later on we knew it would get difficult for all the riders because their tyres were already quite worn. We are happy it all went off okay. Our congratulations to Nicky and Jorge for their podium finishes, also to Andrea who had a great battle with Stoner."
Hayden led from lap two to halfway through lap 14. "Man, it felt really good to be in the lead and I felt quite comfortable," said the local hero, who was aiming to win his first victory of the season. "When Valentino came past and then touched the line onto the back straightaway I was able to make up a little more ground and I thought maybe I was okay. I had changed to a slightly softer tyre after the sighting lap, because I know that wet races can often be about how good you get away in the first laps."