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 - Position: 2ndTime: 1'41.109Laps: 26
"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."
"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."