Dani Pedrosa had his Repsol Honda bucking and sliding on his way to the fastest lap time during wet Friday practice for the Indianapolis MotoGP round.
Better known for his inch-perfect, wheels-in-line style, Pedrosa looked unusually aggressive as he took a 0.7sec advantage over the field on just his sixth lap - finally reduced to just 0.15sec after strong last laps by Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi.
Pedrosa won at the first American round of the season, at Laguna Seca, and was eighth in last year's storm-shortened Indy event, which marked his debut on both Bridgestone tyres and the pneumatic-valve RCV engine.
“This was a very good start to the weekend and in wet conditions we are looking in good shape,” said Pedrosa. “It was raining for the whole session and we had good grip, even though there were some big patches of standing water around the track.
“I felt confident and was able to push hard - and actually it's been a quite long time since I've felt that confident in wet conditions and been happy to push to the maximum.
“If it's dry tomorrow, that's also good for us, even though the only thing we can really take forward from today's session is the gearing information.
“This track is unusual to ride because it's been designed to run in the other direction and so the apex of some of the corners feels very strange. Still, even in the rain there is a unique atmosphere here and it's a special place to ride,” he concluded.
Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso also featured at the top early in the session, but had dropped to ninth at the flag.
“I was fast early in the session and overall I'm satisfied with how today went. It was a difficult practice session because it was raining a lot and the different types of tarmac at this track responded in a different way. There were also some big puddles out there which made things tricky,” said the Italian.
“At the beginning I was riding with a good rhythm and going quickly, but I couldn't improve my lap time at the end of the session because we decided to use only one tyre and spare our wet tyre allocation for the weekend. So by the end the tyres had become slick and it was difficult to control the bike, especially on the dark asphalt.
“I'm not worried about today's position though. The conditions were particular for this situation and the weather forecast for tomorrow and Sunday is good, so I'm confident that I can improve.”