By the end of the day Saturday there was more sunshine and blue skies than fluffy white clouds with temperatures in the mid-seventies at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Three pole positions had been set for Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix and it had been an all-around safe and sane day.
MIKE DI MEGLIO/Mapfre Aspar Team 250cc Aprilia had the pole for the 250cc race, setting a time of 1:44.341/90.3 mph/145.461 km/h on his last flying lap. This is the first-ever 250cc pole for the 2008 125cc champion.
Second through fifth in the 250 category were HIROSHIMA AOYAMA/Scot Racing Team 250cc Honda, MARCO SIMONCELLI/Metis Gilera, HECTOR BARBERA/Pepe World Team Aprilia, and JULES CLUZEL/Matteoni Racing.
Twenty-four of the 25 entrants will start the race. Wild Card rider, BARRRETT LONG of the US failed to qualify his Longevity Racing Yamaha, after being outside the 107 percent time of the fastest rider, at 1:52.154.
JULIAN SIMON/Bancaja Aspar Team 125cc Aprilia took the 125cc pole position at 1:49.337/86.2 mph/138.814 km/h. It was his fifth pole this season, and especially pleasing since he suffered Aprilia rear-end problems Friday.
Second through fifth were SANDRO CORTESE/Ajo Interwetten Derbi; NICOLAS TEROL/Jack & Jones Team Aprilia; POL ESPARGARO/Derbi Racing Team Derbi; and BRADLEY SMITH/Bancaja Aspar Team 125cc Aprilia, who turned the fastest 250cc race lap last year.
All thirty-two 250 riders will start the race.
DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda Team’s 2009 MotoGP qualifying lap time was a full second faster than Rossi’s 2008 pole time, and his morning practice lap was a second faster than second-placed JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Yamaha Team. Pedrosa and others agreed that there are bumps in Turn Six which cause problems. Pedrosa said he “must concentrate to avoid them.”
Pedrosa is on a roll on American soil. He won the MotoGP round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last month. He said “It’s nice to be in the USA, a big and nice country. It is an important country for MotoGP.”
The top four MotoGP qualifiers ran Bridgestone harder option front slicks and softer option rears, and all were faster than last’s year pole time. Bridgestone was able to use some of its Formula One experience to better understand the track for MotoGP.