After some initial concerns on first sight yesterday, Valentino Rossi was pleasantly surprised with his first foray onto the new Indianapolis MotoGP circuit track during Friday free practice - despite soaking wet conditions.
The runaway world championship leader was eleventh fastest this morning but improved considerably this afternoon and finished the second session, which was much wetter, in fourth position.
"So, after some worries yesterday it seems that the track is not so bad and in fact it's a lot more fun to ride than I expected; it's like Rio in places," Rossi revealed. "There are some parts that have a few problems and we can definitely improve them for the future, especially turn five and turn one, but for now I think it is okay.
"The biggest problem is the difference in the asphalt, which changes too much, and the new asphalt doesn't drain so well; if this weather becomes worse things will be very difficult," warned the Fiat Yamaha rider.
"I am really sad about the rain because it's fantastic to be here and I felt quite a strong emotion leaving the garage for the first time this morning, at such a historic place. I really hope that the weather improves so that we can have some crowds here on Sunday!
"I think we have good potential here and I feel like if it was dry then I could be quite fast as well, but it looks like this won't be the case at the moment. Anyway, the situation is okay, my bike and tyres are working well so far so we will try to improve again tomorrow," Rossi concluded.
Fastest during both of Friday's free practice session was rain master Anthony West. Rossi's nearest title rival Casey Stoner was third and eighth in the two track sessions.