MotoGP Indy: A Day of Heat, Offs, and Announcements

What Happens When the Heat is On

6:37pm EST — Friday at Indianapolis started with the pitwalkabout and ended with a sunburn.  The weather, as anyone affiliated with the circuit will tell you regularly is the best possible, after two years of horrible and not so great weather.  Many of the teams were quite set up and ready to go, with only cleaning and such happening around the garages Friday morning when the fans were let loose along pitlane.  There was a general groan when the garage door went down at Fiat Yamaha, as there was an interview for MotoGP with Jeremy Burgess and Valentino Rossi.  Somehow the fans gathered around didn’t know the Italian was behind the door, though the crowd dext door grew exponentially when Ben Spies signed some autographs after the first big (and already known) announcement of the weekend.  The American will replace departing Rossi at Fiat Yamaha for 2011.  Jorge Lorenzo, as he reminded a crowd later in the day, has not yet signed, but it is presumed to be only a formality.  Herve Poncharal told the assembled that he hopes to keep Colin Edwards and gain Cal Crutchlow for 2011 at Tech 3 Yamaha.

Meanwhile, IMS also announced that they had signed a deal to stay on the MotoGP calendar for 2011, though not schedulded next to Laguna Seca as many had hoped and speculated.  The schedule will be reviewed for 2012 and beyond, as the contract is only for next year.  In somewhat related news, Ducati (maybe to pay Rossi’s salary, but definitely as a response to the team’s generally terrible results so far this season) has withdrawn their World Superbike team for 2011.

The premier class bikes did not take to the track until nearly two pm, in a session marked by offs for the American riders.  Nicky Hayden slid off about halfway through and got up checking his left wrist while Ben Spies had the worst luck, sliding off at Turn 8 in the final minutes of the session.  He appeared unhurt, popping right up to check on the bike, but walked to the corner workers favoring his right wrist.  Times dropped right down  in those minutes Spies lost to his crash and return to the garage, despite Casey Stoner’s dominance of the session.  Lorenzo was a half second behind, with Hayden keeping up the momentum after his crash to be third fastest.  It was not the best session for Rossi either, with the Italian posting the fifth fastest time at the end.  Pictures will be posted later this evening or in the morning.

Final Times for FP1:
1. Stoner 1:40.884
2. Lorenzo 1:41.109
3. Hayden 1:41.405
4. Pedrosa 1:41.421
5. Rossi 1:41.623
6. Edwards 1:41.664
7. Dovizioso 1:41.683
8. Spies 1:41. 722
9. Espargaro 1:41.992
10. Melandri 1:42.147
11. Simoncelli 1:42.268
12. Barbera 1:42.368
13. Kallio 1:42.600
14. Bautista 1:42.696
15. Capirossi 1:42.790
16. Aoyama 1:42.874
17. de Puniet 1:42.987


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