Rookie BEN SPIES/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 has the pole for Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Texan’s lap was 1’40.105 – not a record breaker, but a nail biter as the lead swapped places often in the last five and then two minutes.
Spies said “To be pole, my first in front of an American crowd and here at Indy with all of its history… I feel a bit more comfortable for the rest of the year. We put it on the line on that last bit and we did it. As Nicky said, two Americans on the front row – that’s good. I’ll give it all I got. And I’ll enjoy the day right now.”
Also on the front row will be points leader JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Yamaha Team and local boy from nearby Kentucky, NICKY HAYDEN/Ducati Team.
Lorenzo said “I drive the maximum to the position, didn’t make it, but that’s OK”
Hayden said “It’s an important race. The soft tires were a big jump, almost like qualifying tires. We have two Americans on the front row, and hopefully that will bring a big crowd. Tomorrow I’m going to go for it!”
The second row will have Repsol Team Honda teammates ANDREA DOVIZIOSO and DANI PEDROSA, and CASEY STONER/Ducati Team.
It was a rather boring session for the pole during the first 45 minutes of the hour-long session. Much of the time the same top two riders (Lorenzo and Pedrosa) dominated the session before the top spot became more competitive. Then in quicker succession and down to the wire, it was Pedrosa’s teammate, ANDREA DOVIZIOSO, Spies, Hayden, Lorenzo, Spies, Lorenzo and finally Spies.
The weather was pegged at 91 degrees F/33C with 15percent humidity ambient, and 129F/54C on the track. That’s hot to a San Francisco gal, but pleasantly warm for a local. Sunday’s weather is predicted to be hotter and stickier from higher humidity.
VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Yamaha Team took a nasty tumble five minutes from the end of the session, flinging himself into the grass. It was a dejected and angry Rossi who walked back. He had been seventh overall at the time, which he retained. He kept his helmet on all the way to the garage and inside, while debriefing with team.
Rookie MARCO SIMONCELLI/San Carlo Honda Gresini fell but walked away from his spill. He’ll start eighth, with the third Yankee rider, COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in ninth place.
MotoGP protocol has the front row riders holding their Press Conference two hours after qualifying, so stay tuned for their quotable quotes.
Hayden will be the Honorary Grand Marshal Saturday night at the famed Indy Mile dirt motorcycle race held annually at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It could take Hayden longer to say the title of the event than drive across town to be there. It is the Lucas Oil Indy Mile AMA Pro K&N Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com. The Kentucky Kid, who started racing dirt bikes, will meet and greet dirt-track fans. He literally is returning to the scene of the grime, where he won his first Rookie title in dirt tracks.