Casey Takes Control On Day One At Indy
The Indianapolis Grand Prix is already underway and for the fourth year in a row takes place in the mythical American track built in 1909. After the two first free practice sessions, the championship leader, Casey Stoner, started setting the pace in the United States, setting the fastest time of the day. His team mates at the Repsol Honda Team, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, finished in the top five of the premiere category, improving steadily during the day.
The new tarmac of the American track also had some protagonism, when taking the track for the first time, all riders complained of the low level of grip it offered. Under those conditions they rode three seconds slower than the circuit record, with Casey Stoner setting the second fastest time, behind Ben Spies, who set the pole last year in a race that was finally won by Dani Pedrosa. The Repsol rider was tenth, with Andrea Dovizioso in seventh, after doing both 19 laps each.
In the second session, they were faster than in the first session, showing that the rubber deposited on the Indianapolis tarmac allowed slowly to increase the pace. Once again, the Repsol riders were competitive and Andrea Dovizioso started by leading the classification in the first fifteen minutes. Pedrosa quickly got in the top five too, until Stoner, 5 minutes from the end, took the first position. The Championship leader improved again in his last lap, stopping the clock in 1 minute, 40 seconds and 724 thousandths.
As the Australian, Pedrosa improved his fastest time in the last lap, stopping the clock 481 behind his team mate. The winner of last season’s race started to adapt the set-up of his Honda RC212V to the requirements of the circuit, where the lack of grip was the main problem. Two tenths behind finished Andrea Dovizioso, who was finally fifth after completing another 19 laps.
FP1 – 1:43.552, 17 laps, 72 km.
FP2 – 1:40.724, 18 laps, 76 km.
“This afternoon the track was slightly better and of course the lap times improved with more bikes on track and cleaning it up, but I’m still not comfortable on this surface.
It’s incredibly slippery and the track is certainly my least favourite of the whole season. It’s very tight, slippery and the new surface is pretty bad, it’s not just the dirt on the surface but there seems to be something strange where the two surfaces join, some grease of some sort that creates more issues. With this said, we couldn’t find too much with the bike, we made a small step this morning and a small step this afternoon but we’re struggling to get a good feeling in the bike.
We tried the harder front this afternoon which gave us good feedback and we were able to go a little bit faster, but in general the track needs to improve before we can know what direction to go in and I just hope the conditions improve for the race.
My last few exits were slightly ruined from traffic on track and also wildlife! I saw something out the corner of my eye, I’m not sure what it was perhaps a gopher or something, I thought it was a part from someones bike, I’m just glad we both escaped from that situation unharmed!”.