The MotoGP circus returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for the second time. Last year, rain engulfed Friday’s practice sessions, and this year started out no different. Although the day started out dry, near the end of the 125cc practice, the skies opened up and the rain continued for the rest of the day. It wasn’t a driving rain, just a steady light rain that soaked the track and many fans. Fortunately, the forecast for Saturday and Sunday look MUCH different than last year when the track was hit on race day by the remnants of hurricane Ike. This year calls for mostly sunny skies and unseasonably low temperatures. The high on Sunday is only supposed to be 68 deg F. For those of you not familiar with Summer in the central portion of the United States, this time of year we are typically experiencing 90 to 100 deg F temperatures. This very cool spell is a welcome relief.
Friday practice offered one of the best surprises the track could have hoped for, Nicky Hayden posted the second fasted time during FP1 on the Ducati that’s given him fits all season long. Its great to see him have pace on the bike once again! Nicky did extremely well here last year, racing with a broken heel after being told by his Honda team that he’d been sacked. Nicky took the early lead in the race, but eventually finished second behind the GoAT, The Doctor, Valentino Rossi. Its great seeing Nicky do so well at IMS not only because I’m a fan of his, but this is also his home race. He comes from Owensboro, Kentucky which is just a three and change hours from the Speedway. This, more than Laguna, is a real homecoming for him. Dani Pedrosa ended up setting the fastest time in FP1 with a 1’51.507″, which is a good sign for the Honda rider that’s had a rather flat season so far. Rossi was just behind Hayden with the third fastest time. If you’ve never seen Rossi ride a GP bike, it really is a thing of beauty, and akin to watching Schumacher drive an F1 car. There is none better.
In the 250cc class, Jules Cluzel posted the best time of 1’53.512″ followed by Hector Barbara (personal fav) and Marco Simoncelli. The 125cc class was lead by Nicholas Terol with a 1’50.603″ lap time, followed by Simone Corsi and Bradley Smith. The 125cc times were mainly in the dry whereas the 250cc times were under full wet conditions. Saturday morning is FP2 for all three classes, and qualifications are this afternoon. Its only $20 to get in today! If you’ve never seen motorcycle road racing, come on out to the Speedway and check out the fun!