Niccolo Canepa leads first day of testing at Indy
A new sound echoed off the grandstands July 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as riders took to the 2.62-mile road course for the first official MotoGP test in track history.
|The MotoGP bikes look lost on the big Indy Speedway|
Italian Niccolo Canepa was quickest on the first day of the test, pushing the No. 59 Ducati/Bridgestone to a time of 1'44.1756.
`It is a beautiful track,´ Canepa said. `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 tires to do a good lap time.´
Two-time defending AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies, from Longview, Texas, was second with a top lap time of 1:44.2269 on the No. 11 Suzuki/Bridgestone.
Spies turned the most laps of any rider on the day, with 100. Seven riders combined to turn a total of 492 laps under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80s, preparing bikes and tires for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sept. 12-14.
Frenchmen Erwan Nigon, on the No. 72 Honda/Michelin, and Olivier Jacque on the No. 19 Kawasaki/Bridgestone equaled one another for third quickest, at 1´45.2738.
Wataru Yoshikawa of Japan was fifth on the Yamaha/Bridgestone at 1:45.5916 and William Costes of France was sixth on the Yamaha/Michelin at 1´46.1251.
Spies is scheduled to be a wildcard rider at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. He made his MotoGP debut on June 22 with the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team at the British Grand Prix, finishing 14th.
`I think it’s going to be a good event and I think there’s going to be a lot of fans here, so I’m just looking forward to seeing all of the American fans here rooting us on,´ Spies said of racing in September at IMS. `I’d love to be in the top 10, top five, but that’s going to be pretty tough so if I can get comfortable on the thing, I think we can do reasonably well. But the issue is trying to get comfortable, and that’s why we’re here. I did 100 laps today and I’m probably going to do another 100 tomorrow, so just the more laps, the better for me and try to run with those guys.´
Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki of Japan turned only four laps for the day, 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.
1. Niccolo Canepa, Ducati - 1´44.1756 / 83 laps
2. Ben Spies, Suzuki - 1´44.2269 / 100
3. Olivier Jacque, Kawasaki - 1´45.2738 / 75
4. Erwan Nigon, Honda - 1´45.2738 / 79
5. Wataru Yoshikawa, Yamaha - 1´45.5916 / 76
6. William Costes, Yamaha - 1´46.1251 / 75
7. Nobuatsu Aoki, Suzuki - 1´57.9687/ 4