CASEY STONER/Ducati Team pulled off the fastest overall MotoGP lap Saturday morning in the final seconds of the hour-long session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 17 riders were having their final practice before Saturday afternoon qualifying for Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis GP race.
Stoner’s lap of 1’40.884 is also the fastest overall of the weekend, as were the times of every other rider – faster Saturday morning than Friday afternoon.
The Aussie, past MotoGP Champion, was a mere 0.0058 seconds ahead of DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda Team, who had led earlier in the am session. Pedrosa holds the 2009 qualifying track record of 1’39.730/94.563 mph/152.186 kph. So far this weekend, no rider has broken into the 39’s.
Stoner fell early Saturday morning in the MotoGP practice. He was limping, but did get back on track. His motorcycle was hurt and Stoner was angry. He had gone out first on his primary bike and then his backup. Both motorcycles ran with the new Ohlin front forks. The team had two sets, ostensibly one for each of its riders to run on his primary motorcycle. However, teammate NICKY HAYDEN “doesn’t like them” and won’t be using them this week.
Hayden had said Thursday that the team wouldn’t be using the forks for Friday practice. That obviously changed when Stoner did use one set. Hayden had tested the forks a bit in Brno and had this to say Thursday: “I really didn’t have, you know, anything but — didn’t like better than what I had. I tried, really only changed one or two things on them, and we’ve talked this week and it seemed after they got back and checked the data more, maybe we started off with the wrong setting on some of the static compression or whatever was maybe not the ideal place to start. So, you know, not confuse things tomorrow but maybe try them again here, Misano or something. We brought them and we’ve still got them around. So something we might look at but not tomorrow.”
Stoner had been one of several Friday riders critical of the bumpy track. Others included Pedrosa; past World Champion seven times over, VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Yamaha Team and his Team Manager.
Rossi also did a quick slide mid-session in practice, but recovered and was back on course. He finished ninth.
Third through eighth were ANDREA DOVIZIOSO/Repsol Honda Team; JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Yamaha Team-who led for part of the session; Hayden; top Rookie BEN SPIES/Monster Yamaha Tech 3; Rookie MARCO SIMONCELLI/San Carlo Honda Gresini; and COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3.
A third rider, Rookie HECTOR BARBERA/Paginas Amaryllis Aspar fell in Turn 11 near the end of the session, but he’s OK as is his motorcycle. He finished eleventh.
The wear was warm and sunny – 70+ degrees F/21C with blue, cloudless skies.
MotoGP Qualifying starts at 1:55 pm local/EST.