The 2015 MotoGP Championship is finally back to full throttle following a month-long summer break. The official on-track action for round 10 of 18 began Friday with the opening two free practices for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Ending the day on top was not exactly the rider everyone expected – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo earned four wins so far this season, and trails points leader Valentino Rossi by 13 points. The Spaniard, who finished on the Indy MotoGP podium five times including the 2009 win, finished just ahead of the undeniable favorite – Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.
But it wasn’t by much; the two Spaniards dueled throughout both Friday free practices, and at day’s end Lorenzo edged out Marquez by a mere 0.003 of a second. Marquez, who won at the last round in Sachsenring – a feat attributed to switching back to a 2014 RC213V chassis – was the only other rider to break the 1:33 barrier. His top lap was 1:32.680 under perfect track conditions in Indianapolis.Marquez, who won the last two races held at Indy, and Lorenzo were joined on the provisional front row by Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who finished 0.295 of a second behind the top time.Earning fourth quickest during 2015 Indy MotoGP Friday practice was the other Ducati GP15 pilot, the Italian currently third in the point standings, Andrea Iannone. Him and his Italian counterpart clearly benefited from the Misano testing.The top satellite rider was CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who finished 0.326 of a second behind and improved over a second from the opening practice. The Brit finished 0.502 ahead of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro, who suffered a highside at turn 13 during the end of FP2.Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrsoa, who raced Marco Andretti and the American’s IndyCar, finished seventh, 0.517 of a second behind Lorenzo. Rounding out the top 10 were Marc VDS Racing Honda’s Scott Redding (- 0.583), Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith (- 0.614) and Rossi (-0.672).Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera was the leading Open class rider in 14th, ahead of the Factory Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR of Aleix Espargaro in 15th, and local hero Nicky Hayden on the Aspar MotoGP Team Honda.Hayden’s teammate Eugene Laverty managed to end the day in 19th, with Stefan Bradl making his debut on the Factory Aprilia Racing Team Gresini RS-GP in 20th, 0.131 of a second ahead of his teammate Alvaro Bautista. Tony Elias, who is filling in for the injured Karel Abraham in the AB Motoracing team, finished the day in 23rd, MotoGP reports.The 23-rider MotoGP grid will return to the Indy track Saturday for two additional free practices and qualifying for Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.Photography by Ara Ashjian
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!