Takuma Sato set the pace in Saturday morning's practice session, the last opportunity for the drivers to get out on track ahead of this afternoon's qualifying session for the weekend's IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg.

The AJ Foyt Racing driver's lap of 1:01.5293s (105.316mph) was two tenths faster than that of Penske's Will Power, and was a rare glimmer of hope for the teams running Honda engines after Friday had been dominated by the Chevrolet camp.

A change in the track conditions might have helped, with the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit essentially reset by overnight thunderstorms washing away the rubber than had been laid down by the IndyCars and the support races the day before. More rain is possible for qualifying later today.

The session saw the first red flag stoppage of the weekend 20 minutes into the session when Josef Newgarden and Ana Beatriz both ended up in the turn 8 run-off area. Neither the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car nor the Dale Coyne entry were damaged in the incident.

However, a few minutes after the session resumed EJ Viso's #5 Andretti Autosport-HVM car made emphatic contact with the concrete barrier on the way into turn 10. "We were just starting the day's practice and the front right suspension failed and went straight to the wall," Viso explained. "I believe it is going to be all OK for qualifying. But I had to stop my run because that happened. I am fine."

Practice 3 times

1. #14 Takuma Sato (H) 105.316mph 1:01.5293s (16 laps)
2. #12 Will Power (C) 104.959mph 1:01.7386s + 0.2093s (18 laps)
3. #27 James Hinchcliffe (C) 104.690mph 1:01.8971s + 0.3678s (18 laps)
4. #11 Tony Kanaan (C) 104.670mph 1:01.9087s + 0.3794s (15 laps)
5. #6 Sebastian Saavedra (C) 104.608mph 1:01.9457s + 0.4164s (17 laps)
6. #25 Marco Andretti (C) 104.536mph 1:01.9880s + 0.4587s (14 laps)
7. #1 Ryan Hunter-Reay (C) 104.481mph 1:02.0207s + 0.4914s (16 laps)
8. #10 Dario Franchitti (H) 104.434mph 1:02.0490s + 0.5197s (22 laps)
9. #67 Josef Newgarden (H) 104.351mph 1:02.0981s + 0.5688s (19 laps)
10. #78 Simona de Silvestro (C) 104.321mph 1:02.1157s + 0.5864s (14 laps)
11. #15 Graham Rahal (H) 104.310mph 1:02.1223s + 0.5930s (21 laps)
12. #7 Sebastien Bourdais (C) 104.271mph 1:02.1459s + 0.6166s (18 laps)
13. #9 Scott Dixon (H) 104.205mph 1:02.1850s + 0.6557s (21 laps)
14. #16 James Jakes (H) 104.173mph 1:02.2040s + 0.6747s (16 laps)
15. #55 Tristan Vautier (H) 104.084mph 1:02.2576s + 0.7283s (18 laps)
16. #3 Helio Castroneves (C) 104.079mph 1:02.2606s + 0.7313s (18 laps)
17. #22 Oriol Servia (C) 104.008mph 1:02.3027s + 0.7734s (13 laps)
18. #4 JR Hildebrand (C) 103.984mph 1:02.3174s + 0.7881s (20 laps)
19. #19 Justin Wilson (H) 103.880mph 1:02.3795s + 0.8502s (14 laps)
20. #77 Simon Pagenaud (H) 103.857mph 1:02.3936s + 0.8643s (21 laps)
21. #98 Alex Tagliani (H) 103.727mph 1:02.4715s + 0.9422s (17 laps)
22. #83 Charlie Kimball (H) 103.623mph 1:02.5344s + 1.0051s (14 laps)
23. #5 EJ Viso (C) 102.695mph 1:03.0992s + 1.5699s (5 laps)
24. #20 Ed Carpenter (C) 102.587mph 1:03.1658s + 1.6365s (16 laps)
25. #18 Ana Beatriz (H) 102.342mph 1:03.3169s + 1.7876s (17 laps)

Total Laps: 418