Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class:
Results and summary of the 125cc qualifying practice:
Julian Simon refound his form here at Indianapolis again, taking pole for tomorrow's 125cc race by a slim margin, after leading for most of the session. The Spaniard beat Sandro Cortese to the punch by just five hundredths of a second, leaving the German in second place on the grid. Nico Terol, the man who led both the earlier sessions, could manage only the third fastest time, ahead of Pol Espargaro. Bradley Smith looked like starting from the front row for a long time, but got edged into 5th as practice came to an end.
The clouds are disappearing here at Indianapolis, and the sun is starting to warm the track up nicely, meaning the second session of free practice for the250cc class was run under vastly better conditions than yesterday's rain-soaked first session. The sun agreed with Marco Simoncelli, for the Italian was the fastest in FP2, beating Hector Barbera by a fraction. The 3rd fastest man in the morning was Mike di Meglio, who finished ahead of a surprising Ratthapark Wilairot.
Dani Pedrosa obviously likes it in the US. After his relatively easy victory at Laguna Seca, he has come to Indianapolis and dominated. He was comfortably fastest in the rain yesterday, and during this morning's second free practice session, he completely blew away the rest of the field, smashing last year's pole record - set on qualifiers - leaving 2nd place man Jorge Lorenzo over a second behind.
The day started overcast and cool this morning at Indianapolis, more like a morning at Donington than the heat of a Midwestern summer. Britain's Bradley Smith obviously felt right at home, going fastest in the second session of free practice for the 125 class. Spaniard Pol Espargaro was 2nd quickest, having led early on in the session, ahead of yesterday's fastest man Nicolas Terol. Championship leader Julian Simon, who had finished yesterday a lowly 9th, picked up the pace to set the 4th fastest time of the morning on Saturday.
Ducati are in trouble, and they know it. Just how deep that trouble is has become apparent from the factory's actions over the past couple of weeks: First, there was the monster salary offered to Jorge Lorenzo to make the switch, then came news that Ducati had approached both Dani Pedrosa and Loris Capirossi, asking them to ride the Desmosedici. Casey Stoner's absence has made it painfully clear just how dependent they are on the Australian's brilliance.
Ducati boss Livio Suppo explicitly acknowledged that fact in an interview with the German website Motorsport-Total.com. "When Casey isn't here, then we don't have a rider who can race at the front," he told the German language site. Suppo underlined just how important a part of the package a top rider has become, pointing out that Stoner and Rossi had taken the bulk of the victories in the 800cc era, with the others having just a handful of victories between them. "The rider can make a huge difference," he told Motorsport-Total.com, "It's just incredible how Valentino, Jorge Dani and Casey are in a league of their own."
Suppo also stated bluntly that he did not believe that Nicky Hayden was the answer to their problems. "Nicky's results are disappointing, he is below our expectations of him," Suppo said. But the Ducati factory team boss also pointed out that Hayden was making progress. "He was sixth in Brno, which is very good - especially when you realize that his lap times were almost good enough to be on the podium. Now we will wait and see what happens at Indianapolis, last year he did a good job. We will watch what happens and take it from there."
Suppo refused to be drawn on whether Ducati would be exercising the option the factory has on Nicky Hayden this weekend. "I cannot tell you anything more. Not because I don't want to, but because quite simply there is nothing to tell," he told the German website.
The continuing rain threw up some interesting surprises during the first session of practice for the 250cc class at Indianapolis. Biggest surprise of all was the name at the top of the timesheets: Matteoni Racing's Jules Cluzel was the fastest of the session, proving that he can be fast when conditions equalize the field, as he has done on other occasions this year. Cluzel kept ahead of Hector Barbera, taking back the lead almost immediately whenever Barbera posted a faster time. Marco Simoncelli was 3rd fastest in the session, ahead of Cardion AB Racing's Karel Abraham.
The light sprinkling of rain which started during 125cc practice made way for proper rain showers during MotoGP practice, but that did not deter either fans or riders. Only Valentino Rossi held fire for the first quarter of an hour, in the hope that the rain might pass and the track start to dry. That did not happen, and eventually, even Rossi has to go out and contend with the fully wet conditions.