First day of MotoGP test action at Indianapolis
It ends with Niccolo Canepa, Ducati and Bridgestone fastest.
MotoGP machines lapped the new 2.62-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the very first time on Tuesday, during the start of a special two day test.
The test is taking place to satisfy new tyre rule amendments, introduced at the end of the 2007 season, which state that:
“Whenever a new circuit is introduced in the MotoGP calendar for the first time or whenever an existing circuit is totally resurfaced, then a tyre test of a maximum of 2 days of duration must be organised at that circuit a minimum of 4 weeks prior to the race. This test will be open to all tyre and motorcycle manufacturers competing in the MotoGP class, but no rider designated by a MotoGP team will be permitted to take part in these tests.”
The rule was introduced in response to a series of 2007 races in which one or other tyre manufacturer held a significant advantage. The rule seeks to provide Bridgestone and Michelin with the data needed to supply competitive tyres at any new or resurfaced race tracks, in this case for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP on September 12-14.
Italian Niccolo Canepa was quickest on the first day of the test, the impressive Bridgestone/Ducati test rider steering his Desmosedici GP8 to a time of 1min, 44.1756secs during 83 laps.
“It is a beautiful track,” Canepa said afterwards. “Just this morning, I got to learn the circuit because it’s new for everybody and it was also a little bit dirty, so we have to clean up the circuit. We did many, many laps this morning, but now in the evening the grip was good, and we found a good setup and good tyres to do a good lap time.
“I’m happy also because I’m faster today than Ben Spies, the American, so I’m happy. But we will see tomorrow because we have a lot of work to do, and we will see. I think that the lap times will be better, for sure.
“We did a little bit of setup. The bike is still not good, but we have to work tomorrow. I don’t know what I did better than the other guys, but I have learned the secret better. I’m younger, so I think I’m ready to be more crazy than the others,” he smiled.
Spies, who made his MotoGP debut at Donington Park and will race as a wild-card at both Laguna Seca and Indianapolis, completed the most laps of any rider on Tuesday with 100. Spies is the only rider at the test who will also take part in the race weekend.
The reigning double AMA Superbike champion’s best lap was just 0.05secs slower than Canepa, while Frenchmen Erwan Nigon, testing for Honda/Michelin, and Kawasaki’s Olivier Jacque exactly equalled one another for third quickest, at 1min 45.2738secs.
Wataru Yoshikawa of Japan was fifth for Yamaha/Bridgestone at 1min 45.5916secs and William Costes of France was sixth for Yamaha/Michelin with a 1min 46.1251secs lap.
Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki completed only four laps, but he holds the distinction of being the first MotoGP rider to turn an official test lap on the IMS road course, when he took to the track just after the 10 a.m. scheduled start.
2006 MotoGP World Champion and Repsol Honda Team rider Nicky Hayden rode a number of ceremonial laps on April 7 at IMS, christening the new course on a 1909 Indian motorcycle and 2008 Honda CBR1000RR production bike.