MotoGP: Three Crashes, Two Red Flags, & One Qualifying Session at the Indianapolis GP

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Considering it is August here in Indiana, MotoGP has had pretty much perfect weather for the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis GP thus far, with only a brief rainstrom hitting the track late Thursday afternoon and into the evening. With perfect conditions for Saturday, qualifying proved to be an eventful day for all the classes, as a number of riders had crashes that warranted the red flag coming out at the American circuit.

With riders continuing to complain not only of the three different types of asphalt at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but now also about the fine dirt on the course, the issue of whether IMS is safe for MotoGP has been raised with the six red flags that were out in the four qualifying motorcycle sessions held today. Though no one hit any obstacles or walls, with three riders questionable for competing in Sunday’s MotoGP class race, it is not a stretch of the truth to say that the Indy GP will be challenging.

With Moto3 getting its own share of crashes and a red flag, MotoGP also followed suit with three serious high-sides and two stoppages to the session (Moto2 was eventful, but sans red flags). First to be victim to the final turn at Indy was Casey Stoner, who had to be stretchered off the course, and later would be diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right foot/leg. With his participation questionable for tomorrow’s race, we will have to wait and see what the doctors report either tonight or tomorrow morning for the reigning-World Champion.

Second to go down was Ben Spies, who also high-sided in the final section. Staying on the ground briefly, Spies surprisingly would walk himself off the track, and rejoin the session after its third start. Qualifying fourth overall, Spies then went to the medical center to get checked by the doctors. While Spies on Twitter is saying he plans on racing tomorrow, there is considerable speculation if that will be the case. A definitive statement from the team is expected tonight.

The third crash, and second red flag for MotoGP qualifying, came due to Nicky Hayden’s high-side, again in the same section as Stoner and Spies. Knocked unconscious from the fall, Hayden was last reported also to be headed to the hospital for diagnosis, with Rossi saying the Kentucky Kid was suffering from a concussion. Arriving at Indianapolis Methodist Hospital, Hayden reported saw Casey Stoner in the ER, and thought the two had collided. Concussed, he has had a CAT scan of his head, and x-ray of his hand. Though feeling better, his participation in the Indianapolis GP is very unlikely at this point in time.

Proving to be an equal opportunity corner when it comes to flipping bikes, The Doctor also had a moment going through the final bends, though he was able to save the crash.

For the riders left standing, qualifying was a fast and eventful hour. Dani Pedrosa popped Indy’s Best Lap cherry, marking another track where the 1000cc bikes are superior to the ones of the 800cc era. Putting in a 1’38.813, Pedrosa had to watch his time almost be beaten by Jorge Lorenzo, but the Yamaha-man struggled through the second section all session, and was unable to make the ground to Pedrosa.

The two aliens will be joined on the front row by Andrea Dovizioso, who survived the attrition, despite an altercation with a CRT rider in the closing moments.

The ride of the day might go to Team Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, as the Frenchman put his Aprilia ART tenth on the timesheet, despite running over a piece of debris on the front straight, which then punctured the bike’s belly pan and cut off one of the brake lines to the front calipers.

In other news, both American wild card entries qualified for Sunday’s race, with Aaron Yates just barely making the cut with his Suzuki-powered GP Tech machine.

Qualifying Results from the US GP at Indianapolis, USA:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
1 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 335.5 1’38.813
2 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 335.5 1’38.913 0.100
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 334.0 1’39.235 0.422
4 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 333.1 1’39.279 0.466
5 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 334.2 1’39.437 0.624
6 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 334.6 1’39.465 0.652
7 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 331.0 1’39.549 0.736
8 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 333.3 1’39.748 0.935
9 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 334.0 1’40.072 1.259
10 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 317.8 1’40.437 1.624
11 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 333.3 1’40.763 1.950
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 318.6 1’40.803 1.990
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 312.3 1’41.197 2.384
14 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 333.1 1’41.295 2.482
15 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 311.9 1’41.370 2.557
16 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 315.7 1’41.449 2.636
17 Toni ELIAS SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 332.9 1’41.866 3.053
18 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 310.0 1’41.978 3.165
19 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 296.9 1’42.553 3.740
20 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 315.0 1’42.599 3.786
21 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 314.0 1’42.768 3.955
22 Steve RAPP USA Attack Performance APR 300.9 1’43.673 4.860
23 Aaron YATES USA GPTech BCL 286.1 1’44.312 5.499

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved