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Dixon and Hinchcliffe top Saturday practice

Scott Dixon emerged with the fastest time so far at Motegi after the two hour-long Saturday practice sessions, while the last session was topped by the two Newman/Haas cars.
Scott Dixon's blistering time of 1:38.7710s set in the Saturday morning session proved the best lap seen so far this weekend from an IndyCar on the 14-turn, 2.983-mile Motegi road course.

And Newman/Haas' James Hinchcliffe's time of 1:39.1074s topped the Saturday afternoon session that was also good enough to stand as second fastest of the weekend so far, seeing off his team mate Oriol Servia and Ganassi's Dario Franchitti in the timesheets.

Dixon's flying lap was set late in the hour-long morning session that commenced at 9am. Will Power had gone top with his first flying lap but then did not improve on that early benchmark until very late on, by which time he had been disposed by Dario Franchitti who topped the times for much of the session until Dixon's flyer in one of the final laps of the morning put the Kiwi 0.3976s clear of the rest.

It was a mixed early session for home favourites, with Hideki Mutoh's early laptime of 1:39.4932s holding up well for the hour, but Takuma Sato ending up the slowest of the 26-car field. His last attempt to improve was thwarted by a minor off-track detour, but he wasn't alone as Franchitti, Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves and James Jakes were among those off-roading at one point or another, as was 2010 Formula Nippon champion Joao Paulo de Oliveira who finished the session in 15th in his IndyCar d├ębut weekend.

Scott Dixon also topped the timesheets for much of the later hour's practice as well, but in the final minutes found himself displaced by Newman/Haas duo James Hinchcliffe and Oriol Servia. Hinchcliffe had been the only driver to break up the Penske domination at the top on Friday, and after appearing rather anonymous in the morning practice he was fully on it with a late flier just 0.0339s ahead of Servia late in the session.

The final practice session before Saturday afternoon qualifying saw three brief cautions, the first of the weekend, after spins for HVM's Simona de Silvestro and KV Racing Technology's Tony Kanaan and then a final late stoppage for Ryan Briscoe spinning and stalling. That left the cars with time for only one flying lap after the green flag came out: Hinchcliffe decided to sit out the mad rush back onto the track and his top time held up to the chequered flag.

Qualifying starts at 3pm local time (7am BST) and will consist of a first round split into two groups with the top six from each progressing to round 2, and the top six from that round going out into a pole shootshout.

The groups for qualifying consists of Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Alex Tagliani, Joao Paulo de Oliveira, Takuma Sato, JR Hildebrand, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, EJ Viso, Charlie Kimball, Graham Rahal, Danica Patrick and Ana Beatriz in Group 1.

Group 2 comprises, Will Power, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Bourdais, Hideki Mutoh, James Jakes, Scott Dixon, Vitor Meira, Oriol Servia, Giorgio Pantano, Mike Conway and Simona de Silvestro.

Full Saturday practice session times available.



Related Pictures

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Oriol Servia on track in practice at Motegi. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon on track in practice at Motegi. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
James Davison on track on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, Mark Miles and Derrick Walker announce the addition of Boston to the 2016 IndyCar Series itinerary. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Walter Kuhn)
James Hinchcliffe during practice prior to Qualifying for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (Photo by: Leigh Spargur)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Mike Harding)
James Hinchcliffe at IMS (Photo by: Jim Haines)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after qualifying fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon after winning P1 at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis Mile Race on Sunday May 18 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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