Ben Spies was the fastest man out of the box during the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The factory Yamaha rider went to the top of the timesheets shortly after the halfway mark, holding off challenges from Marco Simoncelli, and then later Colin Edwards and Casey Stoner to end the session on top. Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner ended the session in 2nd, while Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards got his weekend off to a flying start by setting the 3rd fastest time of the first session, and featuring near the front throughout.
After leading early on in FP1, Marco Simoncelli ended the morning session in 4th, three tenths behind Spies, but the San Carlo Gresini Honda rider stayed well ahead of the Marlboro Ducati's of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, both men now finally on the same bike, the GP11.1. At what is truly his home race - Hayden lives less than four hours away from Indy - Hayden sneaked in ahead of Rossi in the final moments of the session.
The new track is a bit of a problem, with the track still dirty after the construction work. As the infield section - the part that was repaved - is only used by the MotoGP bikes, there has not been much action on the track to clean it up. As a result, the lap times were nearly three seconds off the lap record, and a lot of riders were left struggling with the grip, including title contender Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda man Dani Pedrosa, Lorenzo finishing in 9th and Pedrosa just behind him in 10th, both men nearly two seconds slower than Spies. A couple of sessions of Moto2 practice should help both sweep the track and lay some rubber down, and the grip should improve as the weekend goes on.
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