Practice Results – MotoGP 2011 – Round 12 – Indianapolis
The MotoGP class set off on the newly resurfaced Indianapolis circuit under sunny skies and high temperatures on Friday as the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix got underway.
It was 27 year-old Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies who led for the majority of the afternoon practice session and his best time of 1’40.918 was an improvement of over two seconds from his earlier FP1 time, as the entire category improved significantly on their morning session efforts as grip levels stepped up.
Spies’ time was not enough to stay in front of Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner however, whose time of 1’40.724 was fastest of the day and placed him top of the timesheet.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) who won last year’s Indianapolis GP, followed Spies in third with a time of 1’41.205. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) also moved up significantly in the second practice outing, bettering his time by over three seconds to slot into fourth position.
Andrea Dovizioso was fifth quickest in FP2 with a best time of 1’41.536, 0.163s ahead of Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in sixth. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) finished in seventh with a best time of 1’41.742, followed by Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) in eighth aboard the fastest Ducati, Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) ninth and Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) tenth.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) improved on his FP1 time by just under two seconds but it was not enough to keep him within the top ten times, moving the Italian into eleventh for the day.
Ioda Racing Project rider Simone Corsi leapt to the top of the timings from 23rd place in the final five minutes of the second Moto2 outing with a lap of 1’46.274. Like the MotoGP riders who went out before them the Moto2 class improved on their morning times considerably, and Corsi’s effort came despite a crash earlier in the session from which he recovered admirably.
Marc Márquez recovered from a crash he had at the end of FP1 to finish 0.065s behind Corsi, putting the Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol rider in second for the day, while Ioda Racing Project team mate Mattia Pasini posted the third quickest time, a 1’46.448.
Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) gradually made his way to the front, posting a time of 1’46.453 to rank him fourth in the session, after a slow start of the day saw him finish the first practice outing in 16th. Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing), who had topped the morning session, finished fifth with a time of 1’46.574. The British rider was followed by Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar), who made big strides in his lap times, with fellow Spaniard Ricky Cardús (QMMF Racing Team) seventh. Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40), Mike di Meglio (Tech 3 Racing) and Michele Pirro (Gresini Racing Moto2) completed the top ten.
American wildcard Jake Gagne (GPTech) made an impressive showing, posting the 26th fastest time. Kenan Sofuoglu of the Technomag-CIP team did not participate in the afternoon session after a fall in FP1 resulted in a foot injury.
Last year’s Indianapolis 125cc race winner Nico Terol set the fastest lap of the day after pushing hard and running off into the grass earlier in the afternoon session. The Spaniard’s best time of 1’49.381 was 0.774s faster than Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) in second.
Zarco, who had stepped into the lead in the final five minutes, bettered his earlier time on his last lap by 1.818s with a time of 1’50.155. The French rider just edged ahead of Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) by a thousandth of a second to put the Spaniard, whose first World Championship podium was achieved at the last round in Brno, third in the times.
Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) posted the fourth quickest time of the day with a 1’50.318, followed by the fourth Spanish rider in the top five Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo), who had led the beginning of the outing to finally post a best lap of 1’50.578.
Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) was sixth, followed by Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar), Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) upon his return to action, rookie Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing) and Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport), who had a crash on the last lap, to complete the top ten.
Combined Free Practice Times
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Repsol Honda Team 1’40.724
2. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha Factory Racing 1’40.918
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’41.205
4. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing 1’41.461
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 1’41.536
6. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’41.699
7. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’41.742
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Team 1’41.789
9. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’42.231
10. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Pramac Racing Team 1’42.339
11. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Ducati Team 1’42.405
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Repsol Honda Team 1’42.673
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 1’42.920
14. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Pramac Racing Team 1’43.034
15. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’43.085
16. Toni Elias (SPA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1’43.230
17. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 1’43.528
– Repsol Honda Report
The Repsol Honda riders were back on track today for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at the famous Motorsport Speedway, which has undergone substantial resurfacing since last years race.
In this morning’s first session, all three riders complained with the lack of grip that this new surface suffers from. Conditions improved slightly for the afternoon session after more rubber had been laid on track from the other classes. Lap times dropped consistently and Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner lapped three seconds faster than his morning lap time. Casey ended the day at the top of the times sheets with an impressive 1’40.724, only six tenths slower than the circuit record lap of 1’40.152 (Lorenzo, 2009).
Dani Pedrosa focused on adapting to the new track conditions, working on the set up of his RC212V and found more grip claiming the third fastest time of the day, improving his morning lap times by four seconds.
Team mate Andrea Dovizioso finished fifth at the end of the first day. Andrea struggled with tyre wear during the afternoon session. Tomorrow he will continue to work on the set up and try to understand how manage tyre wear.
CASEY STONER – 1st 1’40.724 / “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!”
DANI PEDROSA – 3rd 1’41.205 / “The track improved a little in the second practice session, at least on the racing line, but outside the line the surface is still very dirty and slippery. However, we made some better lap times; it’s just about getting a good setup with the tyres and trying to take care of them. Let’s hope that the conditions keep improving throughout the weekend and we can keep working step by step on the set up considering that the tyres will be the key point in this race. In general, I’m happier than this morning, we were able to improve by four seconds in just one session, but we have to keep focused and make another step forward tomorrow”.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 5th 1’41.536 / “The track improved a lot from the morning to the afternoon and in FP2 the lap times dropped by three seconds. With more rubber on track, the grip changed quickly and now the main issue is tyre wear. This is typical for new asphalt so we have to manage the tyres carefully, with special attention on the front tyre. The key point for the race will be managing the tyres. I hope that conditions will improve again tomorrow as with today’s situation it’s impossible to finish the race. I’m not worried with fifth position as when it was time to push, we weren’t able to because we had to keep the tyres for tomorrow so I’m confident that we can be competitive here”.
– Ducati Report
The hot weather and newly resurfaced track at Indianapolis made conditions very slippery this morning, which complicated work for the riders and teams on the first day of the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden followed two different paths in their search for the right setup for the GP11.1, with the Italian suffering more from the rapidly improving grip as the riders cleaned the track. Both are confident of improving tomorrow.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 8th (1:41.789) – “It definitely took a few laps to feel out the new surface and get some rubber down this morning, but toward the end of the afternoon session, you could really start carrying some speed in a few corners. I have to remember that I probably need a little bit of time to understand the bike, and the team needs more time to understand which direction to work. Still, we’re too far off the pace for my home track, and I certainly had hoped to be faster today. We’ll just stay positive and keep working toward Sunday. The new bike definitely does some things better, but we’ve got to get some weight to transfer to the front so that I can get it to turn.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 11th (1:42.405) – “This morning the track conditions were really critical. There was no grip, and it seemed like we were riding in the wet. Things improved a lot in the afternoon though, which is a sign that the asphalt is good and that it was just very dirty since it hadn’t been ridden on yet. It’s also a good sign for tomorrow because the conditions should continue to improve. Also, there are fewer bumps, so they did a good job. As for us, we didn’t expect the grip to improve so much this afternoon and we had to chase a setup the whole session, as I really couldn’t feel the bike. Tomorrow we’ll completely change the balance. Nicky didn’t go bad, so we’ll try to improve as well: the step forward that we made at Brno is still there. We just tried a set up a little too strange since we didn’t expect the conditions to change so much from one session to the next.”
– Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies got straight down to business at the legendary Indianapolis circuit today in the first free practice sessions of the Grand Prix weekend. The Texan delivered an impressive performance in front of his home crowd, topping the timesheets in the morning session with a 1’43.260.
The afternoon session saw the grip levels improve dramatically, allowing Spies to take nearly two and a half seconds off his time and record a best of 1’40.918. He led for the majority of the session, only dropping to second at the end, a mere 0.194 from provisional pole.
Jorge Lorenzo had a difficult start to the day along with the majority of the MotoGP grid, struggling to find grip on the newly resurfaced Indianapolis track. The 125cc and Moto2 classes helped to increase the grip level over the lunchtime period and some key set up changes by the team brought the World Champion out fighting in the second session. Lorenzo was straight up into the top three and was the only rider to contest the fastest spot with his team mate for most of the session. He ended the second session in fourth position, 0.737 from the front.
Ben Spies / Position : 2nd Time: 1’40.918 Laps: 29
“I feel a lot better now, almost ok but when I’m off the bike I’m more in pain which is frustrating. It was a good start today, the first session I was waiting to see if the track was going to stay the same but in the end in the afternoon it improved a lot. We were able to be in the top three in both sessions which is great. The track is going to get even better for tomorrow so we’re looking forward to making another step forward and seeing what we can do.”
Jorge Lorenzo / Position : 4th Time: 1’41.461 Laps: 27
“I started today struggling with the new asphalt. The morning was not good, but FP2 was much better and my feeling was really good. I’ve got grip on the rear now but I still have some problems with the front. I think we can still improve a lot in some parts. Ben is riding very, very well and it means I can be closer. I will try tomorrow to be at the same level as him.”
Wilco Zeelenberg / Team Manager
“The second free practice was a big jump from the morning with much more grip available. We made some small changes and Jorge felt a lot better on the bike. The tyres are going down quite quickly as there is still a lot of dirt on the track so we need to find a way to ensure we can finish the race with enough grip. We compared two different set ups, one was clearly better so for tomorrow we know our direction. For today we are happy with the improvements we have made.”
Massimo Meregalli / Team Director
“It’s definitely a good start today and the circuit conditions are improving. The bike behaviour is good so we are working to finalise the bike set up for Ben, overall he is happy so far. He still has a small issue with his arm but hopefully he will be ok for Sunday as he is proving that he can do a good job here. Jorge made a good improvement from the morning, the team found the right way to improve the bike. Tomorrow they will make another step and on Sunday I fully expect he will be up there.”
– Suzuki Report
Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista achieved a solid result at Indianapolis in America today with ninth place on the leader-board to show for his hard work.
Bautista was one of the busiest riders today, as he completed 41 laps around the 4,216m circuit during the two sessions He recorded his best time of 1’42.231 on his penultimate lap and is sure that both he and the Suzuki GSV-R have more to give this weekend. Bautista worked hard with his crew to get the best of the difficult conditions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the newly surfaced circuit presented a whole lot of problems for all riders. The recently laid asphalt has not had much use, making it very slippery, but as the day wore on – and more rubber was laid down by the bikes from all three classes – the conditions improved, enabling Bautista to record a time three seconds quicker in the afternoon than he did in the morning.
Today’s practices were held in bright sunshine and air temperatures rose to 31ºC. Current World Championship leader Casey Stoner on a Honda recorded the fastest time of the day, with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo fourth.
Bautista will have one more practice session tomorrow morning, followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon, when he will be going all out to get a good grid position for Sunday’s 28-lap race.
“This afternoon I was able to improve my lap-time because the track conditions were better than they were this morning. We still have some problems with turning the bike – we didn’t have good grip this morning because of the new surface, so this afternoon we tried to get more grip from the rear. We changed the setting of the bike, but because the track had improved and grip was better we lost a bit more turning in the corner. Now we know the track is much better, so for tomorrow we will try another setting and I’m sure that will improve things even further. We still have a lot of work to do, but I am happy with situation at the moment. We are in ninth position and I know we can still improve quite a lot. I hope to continue with the way we have been working today and in recent weeks in tomorrow’s sessions and I think we can take the bike further forward ready for Sunday.”
– Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Hard, Extra Hard
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner finished at the top of the timesheets after the first day of running at Indianapolis, setting a best of 1m 40.724s on his last lap of this afternoon’s 45-minute free practice session.
Throughout the day the laptimes tumbled as the new tarmac improved as more rubber was laid down and the track was cleaned by the MotoGP, Moto2 and 125cc classes, plus support races. The 1.5miles of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that have been repaved in time for this event started off slippery and by the end of the morning free practice Ben Spies was at the top of the timesheets but over three seconds off last year’s pole time of 1m 40.105s.
During this first session, the softer front and rear slicks were favoured for the extra grip they gave on the dirty and slippery surface. Evidence of the track’s improvement as it started to rubber-in came this afternoon. As most riders switched to the harder front with the softer rear, Stoner’s time was 2.5seconds faster than Spies’ best of the morning. After two sessions on the new surface Stoner has lapped faster than last year’s race fastest lap, and judging by the improvement in times today it should continue to get faster tomorrow.
The weather today was hot and dry, and although the fastest times were set on the harder option front slick tyre, it was the softer rear that was favoured throughout the day for its extra grip, especially beneficial on the new tarmac. Whilst Indianapolis is very demanding of the left side of the tyres, there were no issues with rear tyre durability even of the softer compound, suggesting it is a viable option for race distance on Sunday with current track conditions.
Running for the MotoGP class resumes tomorrow morning at 1010hrs local time with the third and final free practice session before the afternoon’s hour of qualifying.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“We can clearly see by the times today that the new tarmac here at Indy is improving with every lap as more and more rubber is laid down and it gets cleaner; especially the infield which is rarely used. New tarmac is usually quite slippery and needs plenty of use to lose its new sheen and become less slippery. Based on today, the times will be faster again tomorrow and likely again on Sunday. Whilst our engineers visited Indianapolis after the Grand Prix at Laguna Seca earlier in the year to analyse and assess the new tarmac here, today is the first time we have run around it on MotoGP tyres so it was a relative unknown for everybody but I am generally happy with tyre performance. We experienced some rear tyre graining this morning but as the track changed this was almost no problem by the afternoon but instead with more rear grip the front tyre started pushing more. The track is changing significantly so adjusting the setup and tyre choice correctly each session is crucial but tricky and tomorrow morning’s practice will be especially important.”