American Colin Edwards made a strong start to his home Indianapolis Grand Prix with third and sixth places during Friday's free practice sessions.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider excelled in the slippery morning session, when the new infield asphalt was heavily criticised by many of the championship frontrunners.

Edwards admitted it was more dirt track than MotoGP, but simply made the best of it to finish just 0.314sec behind fellow Texan Ben Spies, of the Factory Yamaha Team.

"This morning it felt like I was back at the Texas Tornado Boot Camp but just riding a more expensive bike, because it was pretty slippery out there," said Edwards, riding with a special Navy Seals-inspired helmet design this weekend. "To be honest I actually really enjoyed it even though the grip was a bit sketchy.

"We all knew that grip was going to be a little bit of an issue this morning but it was 100 per cent dirt track. As soon as you got your knee on the ground the front would go and the rear would come round, but I still had a lot of fun with the bike moving around so much."

Lap times dropped dramatically during the afternoon session, which finished with Edwards once again the top satellite rider.

"This afternoon with a lot more rubber down the track was a lot better and hats off to the folks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway," he said. "They've done an amazing job because the bumps that have been really bad have mostly gone and with a bit more rubber down the surface is going to offer a lot more grip.

"We won't feel the benefit of the new tarmac this year but the changes are for the future and next year it is going to be a million times better.

Although the gap to the front had grown to almost one-second in FP2, Edwards was delighted with his opening day.

"Being third this morning and sixth this afternoon has given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the weekend. I'm not fighting the bike this weekend and it feels awesome," he said.

Team-mate Cal Crutchlow was riding at Indianapolis for the very first time. The Englishman was 15th in both sessions.

"This morning was pretty difficult because the track was very slippery and I was having to contend with not a lot of grip while also trying to push to learn the track," said Crutchlow. "Sometimes I'd run off line and it was so dirty that I was losing a lot of time.

"The track was in much better condition this afternoon but it felt like I didn't have the front grip I needed to push for a faster time. We had a lot of wear on the tyre and not much grip and I'm not sure why. The issue this year has been losing the front on the brakes, but today I was losing the front mid-corner and off the throttle.

"I'm sure we can make some big steps with the set-up and I'm confident I can climb a few places up the order and fight for a top 10 in qualifying tomorrow. The good thing is that every single lap we make improvements and I go faster, so if we can get more front-end feeling then I'm looking forward to having a strong race."


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