MotoGP Indy: Yamaha Friday Report

Red Bull Grand Prix

Lorenzo and Rossi Report

The first free practice of the Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend was run in blazing sunshine at the Motor Speedway today, with Fiat Yamaha Team riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi finishing the day in second and fifth positions. The fastest time of the day was set by Casey Stoner, just two tenths ahead of Lorenzo.

Last year’s race winner Lorenzo felt confident from the outset and was at the top of the time sheets for three quarters of the session before Stoner just edged him out.

The young Spaniard made some subtle tweaks to his setting to better suit the flat nature of this track and also had time to try both Bridgestone race tyres, about which he already feels confident of his direction for Sunday.

Rossi struggled a little more today, lacking grip on the bumpy surface and lacking pace as a result. He and his team will make a detailed examination of the data tonight to try to find a way to improve their setting so they are in a position to challenge for the front row in tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying session.

Both Fiat Yamaha riders are once again running the special ‘Fiat 500’ livery that was showcased in Laguna Seca earlier this season. The livery celebrates the forthcoming launch of the Fiat 500 in the United States and features the smiling faces of 500 Rossi and Lorenzo fans on each bike.

Jorge Lorenzo says: "I rode really well today and improved a lot during the practice. The rear was sliding a lot, maybe because the temperature is so high; it’s a lot hotter than last year! I think the level between the top riders here is more or less the same and everyone is looking very strong. Then everyone will improve further tomorrow and we must make sure we do so as well. It will be a good battle! Finally I want to say congratulations to Ben Spies, next year he will join the Factory Team and I think it’s great news for him and for Yamaha."

Valentino Rossi says: "My physical condition is much better here; I so still have some pain but it’s not too bad so I am not worried. I am feeling confident on the bike but we have to improve our setting in order to improve our pace because we are lacking some grip here. It’s not an easy track because there are a lot of bumps. We did quite a lot of work today but it wasn’t enough and the gap to the top is too much. Our target for tomorrow morning is to close this gap so that we’re in better shape to push for a good position on the grid."

Wilco Zeelenberg (Team Manager) says: "This was a very nice practice session for us and we were able to try everything we needed to try. We’re quite happy to be second and the handling and balance is quite good. It’s very bumpy of course and we need to work a little bit to minimise the wheelie in places, but basically it feels good for Jorge. We also know the direction for the tyres already so this is everything we could wish for today."

Davide Brivio (Team Manager) says: "We struggled a bit today and we need to do some more work to try to find the right package for this track. We started with our standard setting and now we need to continue to try to make it work how we want. It’s just the first session so we have time. There is nothing very specific, we’re lacking some grip and so we need to make the tyre work better for us. We will have a look at the data tonight and keep on with it tomorrow."

Edwards and Spies Report

Colin Edwards and Ben Spies made a fast and confident start to the Indianapolis MotoGP weekend today, the American duo immediately able to set a competitive pace in opening practice.

Edwards will set a personal milestone on home soil on Sunday when he becomes only the 13th rider in history to start 130 premier class races. And he made an impressive start to the landmark weekend at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 36-year-old concentrated on fine-tuning a revised front-end geometry setting he first used in Brno earlier this month on board his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine.

Edwards was a persistent threat in the top six throughout the session, which was run in gloriously sunny conditions that saw air temperatures hit 28 degrees. The Texan was as high as third in the final 20 minutes and his best time of 1.41.664 left him just 0.041s behind reigning world champion Valentino Rossi in sixth place overall.

Edwards though was delighted with his progress today and his lap times bode well for a strong showing in Sunday’s 28-lap race after he finished top non-factory rider.

Just as impressive was team-mate Spies, who wasted no time in establishing himself in the top three in the early stages. Spies gave a sun-soaked and sizeable home crowd reason to cheer from the off when he topped the timesheets in the opening 15 minutes.

Spies, who will move to Yamaha’s factory squad in 2011 after a fantastic first full season in MotoGP with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad, was always in contention for a top three position as he reeled off a series of consistently fast laps on race tyres.

Not even a late crash could take the shine off a productive afternoon for the 26-year-old, who ended in eighth position, a result that certainly didn’t reflect his true potential.

Spies lost the front-end of his YZR-M1 machine after hitting a bumpy section at turn six and he ended with a best time of 1.41.722 to finish less than one-tenth behind Edwards.

Colin Edwards says: "I’m really happy with that session because the bike felt good and that’s the main thing. We’ve had so many races this year where I’ve struggled finding a good set-up quickly and we’ve been trying to catch up right from the first session. But the front-end setting we first tried in B rno is working well here too, so it seems like we made a big breakthrough at the last race. Now I can hold good corner speed instead of fighting the bike, and I feel more confident and comfortable. I’ve always said this season that if the bike is working underneath me, I can still ride it fast. And that is the case now. I got my best result of the season with seventh in Brno and that gave me some momentum. We’ve just got to carry it on and show what we are capable of."

Ben Spies says: "I’m actually pretty happy with that session even though it ended not so great with the crash. I’m not too upset because it was one of those crashes that I know what I did wrong. There’s a bump going into turn six and I turned in a little too early. I knew I was turning in too early but I thought I wasn’t pushing the front hard enough to make a difference. But as soon as I hit the bump I lost the front."

"I missed the last five minutes and I definitely could have gone quicker because the bike was working good and I felt good. I was right up there all the time but I just made a mistake. Without that I’m sure I could have gone three or four tenths faster and been in a better position. But I did quite a lot of consistent fast laps and we have a lot of good data on race tyres, so it was a good start to the weekend."

Circuit Length: 4186
Fastest Lap Ever: 1’39.730 (Dan Pedrosa, 30/08/2009)
Last Years Winner: Jorge Lorenzo