Friday, August 8, 2014

Valentino Rossi Fastest in Indianapolis First Practice

After a month off, the MotoGP season restarts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This will be the seventh edition of the Indianapolis Grand Prix and the winner of the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix was fastest. Valentino Rossi ran a 94.535 second lap on his factory Yamaha. The Italian was 0.0334 seconds quicker than fellow Yamaha rider, Tech3's Bradley Smith. A hundredth of a second behind Smith was Pramac Ducati rider Andrea Iannone with the second Tech3 Yamaha of Pol Espargaró fourth overall in the session, 0.143 seconds behind Rossi.

Championship leader Marc Márquez was fifth in the first session, 0.350 seconds behind Rossi. Márquez has won all nine races this season and he looks to accomplish a double-digit winning streak for only the sixth time in the history of 500cc/MotoGP. The last rider to win at least ten consecutive races was Mick Doohan in 1997 when the Australian won ten in a row. Honda has won four consecutive Indianapolis Grand Prix. Jorge Lorenzo was sixth, just a little over a half a second behind his factory Yamaha teammate. Lorenzo signed a new deal with Yamaha through at least 2016 earlier this week.

The top Open class bike was the Gresini Honda of Scott Redding in seventh. He was 0.161 seconds ahead of the second Open class bike of Aleix Espargaró in eighth. Factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso was ninth fastest with the Open class Pramac Ducati of Yonny Hernández rounding out the top ten.

Colin Edwards is the lone American at Indianapolis entered in MotoGP this year as Nicky Hayden is recovering from wrist surgery over the summer break. Edwards was eleventh fastest in first practice, 1.208 seconds behind his former teammate Rossi. This will be Edwards' final MotoGP start in the United States as he announced that he would retired at the end of this season. His best finish at Indianapolis is fifth which came in 2009. Edwards has only finished in the points twice this year with his last points finish being at Mugello three races ago.

Ducati rider Cal Crutchlow was twelfth followed by the Aspar Honda of Hiroshi Aoyama and the LCR Honda of Stefan Bradl. Karel Abraham rounded out the top fifteen while factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa was sixteenth, 1.884 seconds behind Rossi.

Rounding out the session was Álvaro Bautista, Héctor Barberá, Broc Parkes, Danilo Petrucci, Michael Laverty, Mike Di Meglio and Leon Camier. The field was covered by 5.427 seconds.

Second practice for MotoGP will take place at 2:05 p.m. ET.