By Lynne Huntting
Sunday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for race day of the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP started out sunny with mostly blue skies, a breeze and some clouds.
The sunrise was a beautiful red vista over the few clouds on the horizon. What was that old saying.... red skies in the morning, sailors take warning. It was beautiful and balmy on the way to the track, and sunglasses were needed. Always a good sign.
By the time the 125cc and 250cc motorcycle warm-ups were completed, the breeze had picked up and some clouds were moving in from the west. But it was dry when MotoGP took to the track for its 25-minute warm-up. Some of those watching the forecasts say the storm (Hurricane Ike's leftovers) could go north and east and maybe hit the track/area just a bit.
As required by new FIM regulations this year, the riders have to practice starts at the beginning of the session, before coming round through pit lane to start running laps. The riders all went out on slicks.
The session ended with Ducati's reigning world champion Casey Stoner fastest at 1min 41.553secs. Yamaha's pole sitter and world championship leader Valentino Rossi was second with 1min 42.161secs, with Ducati's Toni Elias completing the top three.
Rossi and fourth fastest Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini) are the only two riders across all three FIM classes to have scored points in every race this year.
Other leaders in the session included Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) and rookie Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot MotoGP). So far in his first MotoGP season, he has only twice not finished in the top ten. One was an eleventh place finish and one was a DNF crash.
Kawasaki's Anthony West was again the slowest rider.
The local newspaper estimated Saturday's crowd at 50,000 and has all along predicted crowds upwards of 100,000 for Sunday. While the front straight grandstands don't appear to be that occupied, all the grandstands looking down on the twisty bits are full, and there are a lot of fans walking around everywhere.
Just after the warm-up session finished it started to sprinkle with rain and the Red Bull Rookie event has been declared a wet race. No word yet of any schedule changes...