2011 Indianapolis MotoGP FP1 Result: Spies Leads From Stoner And Edwards

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.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'43.260    
2 27 Casey STONER HONDA 1'43.552 0.292 0.292
3 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'43.574 0.314 0.022
4 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'43.582 0.322 0.008
5 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'44.236 0.976 0.654
6 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'44.362 1.102 0.126
7 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'44.551 1.291 0.189
8 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'45.026 1.766 0.475
9 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'45.065 1.805 0.039
10 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'45.192 1.932 0.127
11 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'45.249 1.989 0.057
12 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'45.368 2.108 0.119
13 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 1'45.577 2.317 0.209
14 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'46.159 2.899 0.582
15 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 1'46.484 3.224 0.325
16 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'46.643 3.383 0.159
17 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'47.507 4.247 0.864

 

2011
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Comments

David, this is slightly off topic but any word on the 2012 calender yet? Gossip has it that Laguna Seca and Indianapolis will be back to back....

Still no word. A provisional calendar will probably be announced either this weekend or (more likely) at Misano. I've had a lot of people asking about that. As soon as I get one, it will be posted here.

I shall sit patiently and wait.

Ctrl+F5 Ctrl+F5 Ctrl+F5 Ctrl+F5 Ctrl+F5 Ctrl+F5 Ctrl+F5... :D

No mention that Spies best time is more than THREE FULL SECONDS slower than last year's pole time. How can new pavement and lack of bumps ADD three seconds? Was the track reconfigure somehow? is it that dusty?

Methinks the field will turn it on in FP2 and FP3, leading up to QP. ;) I mean, as much as I love Colin, to have him sitting third says a lot.

Apparently, the unofficial-official word is that the riders are struggling with grip on the new surface, saying it's like riding in the rain. Get the Moto2 and 125cc classes out there to lay a little rubber down and I think times will improve dramatically as we head into QP and the race. Here's hoping, at least...

I know the track is dirty and everyone is struggling for grip - it just seems that Ben, Nicky and Colin always have a little something extra for Laguna and Indy. I wish they could muster up that mojo everywhere. It goes to show how much of this game is mental.

This is just a guess, but I wonder if the poor traction helps Spies the most, since he's always been the guy to watch on worn tires. Since it seems the Bstones don't 'go off' near the latter stages of the race, that particular riding strength hasn't been in play for the last couple of seasons.

Could it be that the green, slippery nature of IMS at present favors those who are good on worn tires? (Obviously, the tires are the same, but perhaps the green track surface is similar to riding on shagged tires?).