The man setting the best lap of the opening MotoGP practice session of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who went round the 4.216km track in 1’51.507s in wet conditions.
With the riders lapping more than ten seconds off the sort of pace that would be expected on a dry track, it was Pedrosa who adapted best to the conditions on his factory RC212V as he produced his best time on the sixth of just 16 laps.
Late charges from Pedrosa’s former team-mate Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and the reigning MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) saw them place themselves in second and third positions on the timesheets, with times respectively 0.155s and 0.307s behind the Spaniard.
Like Hayden and Rossi, the Italian’s Yamaha colleague Jorge Lorenzo also produced his fastest pace on his final lap, putting himself fourth with a 1’51.894 time.
Satellite pair Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and James Toseland (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) were fifth and sixth, with both hoping for good results this weekend as they attempt to secure 2010 rides.
The top ten was completed by Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki), home rider Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing).
Aleix Espargaró got his first ever MotoGP ride in the session and did well to end up in 15th place, lapping ahead of Gabor Talmacsi and his temporary team-mate Niccolò Canepa.
The surprise pace man in the wet 250cc session was Frenchman Jules Cluzel who laid down a 1’53.512 lap midway through the practice on his Aprilia machine.
The Matteoni Racing rider, who has had a modest season since his opening round podium at Qatar also in wet conditions, was the fastest participant by a 0.732s margin ahead of his nearest rival, Spaniard Héctor Barberá (Pepe World Team).
World Champion Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) was third on the timesheet, with a time more than a second off Cluzel’s pace, whilst Czech competitor Karel Abraham crashed late in the session when pushing too hard and ended up fourth.
Mike di Meglio (Mapfre Aspar) and Héctor Faubel (Valencia CF – Honda SAG) were fifth and sixth, with title-chaser Álvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Team) lapping in tenth place and standings leader Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Racing Team) placing discreetly down in 14th.
Last year’s Indianapolis 125cc race winner Nico Terol (Jack & Jones Team) showed his strengths again at the famous American circuit as the action got underway earlier in the day, the Spaniard lapping in 1’50.603 to head the FP1 timesheet for the single cylinder class.
The 20 year-old, who was also victorious in Brno two weeks ago, laid down his best time on the 20th of his 21 laps, before precipitation brought the riders back into their pit-boxes before the end of the session.
Second fastest was Terol’s former team-mate Simone Corsi (Fontana Racing), who was a tenth of a second off the pace man, whilst Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar), Sandro Cortese (Ajo Interwetten) and Marc Márquez (Red Bull KTM) all went round within 0.5s of Terol.
With Efrén Vázquez (Derbi Racing Team), Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing), Sergio Gadea (Bancaja Aspar), Julián Simón (Bancaja Aspar) and Joan Olivé (Derbi Racing Team) all at the business end of the timesheet there were six Spanish riders in the top ten.