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Indy begins with Spies on top

Ben Spies fastest during Friday practice (1) for the Indianapolis MotoGP.
Home hero Ben Spies set the fastest lap time during Friday morning's first practice session for the Indianapolis Grand Prix, round twelve of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.

With the infield track unused for the rest of the year, the opening Indy session begins on a slippery surface, before the circuit is cleaned and rubber laid down. That process has an added dimension for 2011, with the section from Turns 5 to 16 resurfaced for this year's event.

That resurfacing has removed the bumps, riders found the new asphalt to be very slippery and lap times remained several seconds off record pace this morning.

Spies, last year's pole sitter and runner-up, returns to Indy having won his first MotoGP race earlier this year at Assen.

The Factory Yamaha star, yet to fully recover from a trapped nerve but with new parts for this weekend, set his best time of 1min 43.260sec on the penultimate of his 18 laps.

That compares with a circuit record of 1min 40.152sec, set by Spies' team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in the 2009 event.

But Lorenzo was far les impressive this morning, the reigning world champion - who desperately needs to reclaim points from title leader Casey Stoner - managing only the ninth fastest lap, 1.805sec from Spies.

By contrast Repsol Honda star Stoner was second quickest (+0.292sec) with Colin Edwards making it two Texans in the top three after putting his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 within 0.314sec of former team-mate Spies.

Marco Simoncelli continued the momentum from his first MotoGP podium with fourth place (+0.322sec) for San Carlo Honda Gresini. Nicky Hayden was the third American in the five, and the top Ducati rider (+0.976sec), with team-mate Valentino Rossi in sixth (1.102sec).

Stoner's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was seventh (+1.291sec) with Aspar Ducati's Hector Barbera a promising eighth (+1.766sec). Lorenzo and then defending Indy winner Dani Pedrosa completed a top ten covered by almost two-seconds.

Alvaro Bautista began the weekend in eleventh for Suzuki, with rookie Cal Crutchlow twelfth for Tech 3, after his first ever Indy laps.

Fellow rookie Karel Abraham - who has raced at Indy in Moto2 - ground to a halt on his out-lap, and was seen walking away from his Cardion AB Ducati once again in the closing minutes.

Friday practice (1):

1. Spies
2. Stoner
3. Edwards
4. Simoncelli
5. Hayden
6. Rossi
7. Dovizioso
8. Barbera
9. Lorenzo
10. Pedrosa
11. Bautista
12. Crutchlow
13. de Puniet
14. Aoyama
15. Capirossi
16. Abraham
17. Elias

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Spies, Dutch MotoGP 2011
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