Rain hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway half an hour before the start of the first practice and lasted for the duration of the hour-long session, meaning that Bridgestone’s hard compound wet tyres, the only available wet tyre option this weekend, were used by every rider. Being primarily designed for oval races held in dry weather, the steady rain produced a great deal of standing water around the 4.216km circuit, demanding much of Bridgestone’s wet tyres.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa finished the session fastest just ahead of local hero Nicky Hayden of the Ducati Team and Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, both of whom jumped to second and third respectively on their last laps.
Indianapolis is a tricky circuit because it is composed of three different circuits in the form of the infamous oval, the existing infield used by Formula One and the new-for-2008 MotoGP-specific section from turns one to four. Each section has a different track surface, meaning that grip levels and abrasion from the road differ throughout the lap. These changes in the surface are even more challenging when the track is wet as the rain affects the level of available grip from each surface in a different way. This makes it very difficult for riders to get a consistent feeling throughout a lap, and gives Bridgestone’s tyres much more to contend with.
Tohru Ubukata – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“For the second year at Indianapolis we have seen rain, which makes the track very slippery especially with the surface changes between the three main sections of the circuit. It also means that we still do not have much data for running in dry conditions here. There was a lot of standing water mid-corner which is when the tyres are under their peak load, so the conditions were very tricky. I am happy with the performance of our hard compound wet tyres today, especially with their ability to deal with the wide range of conditions we see as a result of surface changes during a single lap.
“The only other circuit at which we have used the hard compound wets so far this season is Sachsenring, where again we saw a great deal of standing water, so I can say they are performing well. If we have a wet race on Sunday I am confident of the consistency and durability of our wet tyres on this abrasive circuit, even if the track temperature is as warm as it was today at nearly 30 degrees Celsius which is high for rain conditions.”