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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]
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Degree Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, raced to a sixth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a second-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power and Takuma Sato crash out during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power crashes out during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, and Graham Rahal go three-wide going into Turn 1 during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium of Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan, and Marco Andretti hoist their trophies on Victory Lane following the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday, June 27 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium of Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan, and Marco Andretti hoist their trophies on Victory Lane following the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday, June 27 2015. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon climbs into his car on pit road for his qualifying run during qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on pit lane after qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay go side-by-side during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti go side-by-side during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon enters Turn 3 during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on pit lane following practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, and Tony Kanaan go three-wide during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Josef Newgarden, and Sebastien Bourdais mix it up on the frontstretch during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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