Indianapolis MotoGP practice

Hurricane Ike dampens Indy festivities

story by Bruce Allen, Photograph by Kawasaki Racing and Bruce Allen, Created Sep. 13, 2008
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Indianapolis welcomed MotoGP to the Motor Speedway on Friday with a Forrest Gump-like assortment of rain Ė sprinkles, showers, big olí rain, mist, fog, several downpours and, at one point, rain that appeared to be falling UP. I happened to be walking from my car to the media center at the track during that last bit, and got soaked through to the skin. Itís Saturday morning, and Iím still wet in places.

Just as an aside Ė we havenít had a decent rain in Indianapolis since July. As thorough as the honchos at the IMS are, they must have put someone in charge of weather this weekend. That person should be fired. Weather like this would never be allowed during the 500 or the Brickyard.Kawasaki's Anthony West recorded the top time in the free practice session.

Friday was one of those days that casual race fans donít pay much attention to.  For the riders and the teams, though, it is a high stress, high-risk day. So much information to gather, so little time. Yesterday, most of the angst was about tires. Teams have rain tires and dry tires, hot tires and cool tires, and enough permutations of each to keep Bridgestone and Michelin busy all year long. What they donít apparently have is standing water tires, nor 3-or-4-different-racing-surfaces-wet-or-dry tires, which is what they need to compete at the Speedway this weekend.

For racing fans in town for the weekend, the weather kept things tamped down.A few fans braved the rainy weather to watch the action on the track. There were only a handful of bikes on the highways, and attendance at the track itself was sparse. Sure, itís possible to have fun underneath a vinyl poncho, with the rain fogging your glasses and the humidity building in your nether regions. There were plenty of guys, mostly in pairs, walking around, trying very hard to have a good time, but it took some effort, and finally around 3:30 pm they closed the track altogether.

Saturday morning has dawned cloudy and humid. Radar shows tons of rain, almost all of which looks to remain north of us, at least early in the day, so today promises to be better than yesterday. Qualifications today are from 2 until 3. The exhibition riding competition scheduled for last night was rescheduled to tonight, weather permitting. I had originally planned to attend the cruiser race at the Fairgrounds this evening, which may or may not go depending on the weather.  Priority #1 tonight will be the race; if it rains again, the exhibition riding will surely be canceled Ė way too dangerous. If they cancel the race and hold the exhibition, we will go downtown and check it out.

Fridayís MotoGP practice times
Rank Ride Team Time
1 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing 1:53.034
2 Alex de Angellis San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:53.151
3 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro 1:53.190
4 Andrea Dovizioso JiR Team Scot 1:53.704
5 John Hopkins Kawasaki Racing 1:53.715
6 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki 1:53.771
7 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha 1:53.850
8 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda 1:53.931
9 Ben Spies Rizla Suzuki 1:54.297
10 Toni Elias Alice Ducati 1:54.616
11 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha 1:54.795
12 Randy De Puniet LCR Honda 1:55.072
13 Shinya Nakano San Carlo Honda Gressini 1:55.074
14 Marco Melandri Ducati Marlboro 1:55.292
15 Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1:55.731
16 Sylvain Guitoll Alice Ducati 1:56.125
17 James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 1:56.261
18 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki 1:56.345
19 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 1:56.851

Related Reading
2008 Indianapolis Grand Prix MotoGP Results
AMA Grand National at Indianapolis
Rossi wins Indy pole
Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP Preview

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