Casey Stoner has sent out a warning signal to his MotoGP World Championship rivals ahead of qualifying for the Indianapolis Grand Prix after going comfortably fastest in third and final free practice.

The Australian rider commanded the top spot for much of the 45 minute session, ceding the lead just once to his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa in the closing stages before regaining the initiative with three minutes to go courtesy of a session topping lap time of 1min 39.182secs.

Crucially for the reigning champion, he was the only rider to lap fairly consistently in the 1min 39secs bracket when compared to his compatriots, a status he will be pleased with given current series leader Jorge Lorenzo couldn't go faster than 1min 40.339secs as he struggled down in seventh position.

Pedrosa completed the Repsol Honda 1-2 two tenths behind his team-mate, while Lorenzo's Yamaha compatriot Ben Spies continued his positive Indy weekend by ending the session just two hundredths adrift of the Spaniard in front of him.

The only other rider to crack 1min 40secs, Stefan Bradl was an impressive fourth fastest on the Red Bull-backed LCR Honda, a clear four tenths up on Andrea Dovizioso in fifth on the Tech 3 Yamaha and Alvaro Bautista on the Gresini Honda.

Behind Lorenzo, his future Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi was eighth quickest and the top Ducati rider, the Italian keeping a low profile during the session but doing enough towards the latter stages to move ahead of Cal Crutchlow, who suffered a low-speed tumble in the final minutes, and Nicky Hayden.

Doing a solid job to stay within a second of Hayden around a tough circuit for the prototype-cum-production bikes, Aleix Espargaro was top CRT rider in 11th position, the Spaniard just edging out Yonny Hernandez by two hundredths of a second, the Colombian Avintia Blusens rider well placed to challenge for his first CRT 'pole position' come qualifying later today.

Espargaro's Aspar ART team-mate Randy de Puniet was 13th best, ahead of Karel Abraham on the Cardion AB Ducati, with Mattia Pasini doing enough on the Speed Master ART to keep Pramac Ducati's stand-in Toni Elias at bay in 15th and 16th.

Further back, CRT wild-card riders Steve Rapp and Aaron Yates are on course to qualify for their home race after getting within the 107 per cent rule during FP3. Attack Kawasaki rider Rapp, who didn't make the cut on his debut at Laguna Seca earlier this month, was five seconds off Stoner's top time, while Yates on the Suzuki-engined GPTech machine was just over six seconds adrift.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment