Stoner quickest in final Indianapolis free practice

Saturday, 18 August 2012

In the final free practice session at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix it was Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner who laid down the benchmark for this afternoon’s qualifying ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Ben Spies.

MotoGP™ riders took full advantage of the improved track conditions this morning, after grip levels had improved dramatically after a day’s running from all support classes yesterday. And it was the Repsol Honda Team duo of Stoner and Pedrosa that looked in near unstoppable form as the pair traded positions at the front throughout the session. The Australian ultimately come out on top, just under two tenths ahead of his Spanish teammate. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Spies will however give them a tough time after finishing only marginally behind Pedrosa, and cementing himself as top Yamaha man this weekend.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl put in a terrific performance to finish the morning fourth, ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who could not quite match his feat of fourth from yesterday. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista did however improve, placing his satellite Honda sixth. Surprise of the morning was Yamaha’s championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who looked off colour throughout. He was loosing a significant amount of time in the final two sectors, and looked unable to squeeze any more out of the bike. With Stoner over a second off at the front, Lorenzo and his team will no doubt be looking for a drastic improvement this afternoon.

His soon-to-be teammate, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, improved slightly from yesterday finishing eighth, ahead of Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who suffered a slow-corner crash with two minutes reaming in the session. His time was sufficient to hold off Ducati’s Nicky Hayden in tenth. Top CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró, who made good use of a tow from compatriot Pedrosa. Wildcard entries, Attack Performance’s Steve Rapp and GPTech’s Aaron Yates showed a marked improvement on yesterday and managed to get within 107 per cent of the top time. If they can repeat this in this afternoon’s qualifying they are guaranteed a slot on the grid for Sunday’s race.

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