Ben Spies set the pace in the opening free practice session for this weekend's Red Bull GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a storming lap in the final minute.
Racing on home soil, Spies had first hit the front on his Yamaha at the half-hour point with a lap in the mid 1m44s, but kept on improving and knocked Casey Stoner off the top spot after producing a 1m43.260s effort on his last flying lap. Stoner's best lap – set a minute before the end – was 0.292sec slower than that of Spies, but was something of a surprise as the world championship leader had been unable to make it any higher than sixth earlier on.
Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden made it three Americans in the top five on Tech 3 Yamaha and Ducati machinery, respectively. Splitting the pair was Marco Simoncelli, who spent most of the session at the head of the times, but slipped to fourth in the final two minutes.
With a new track surface having been laid ahead of the MotoGP event, riders worked to lay down rubber during the session. The result was that times improved by around 10sec during the 45-minute session. The best time was still more than 3sec off the lap record, however.
Valentino Rossi was sixth quickest for Ducati, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso's Honda and Hector Barbera's Aspar Ducati. MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa were surprisingly low down in ninth and 10th spots for Honda and Yamaha – each man significantly off the pace.
Cal Crutchlow twice went off the track on his Tech 3 Yamaha, but stayed on both times, while Karel Abraham was left out on-track when his Cardion AB Ducati ground to a halt at Turn 1 with 10 minutes to go.