Ben Spies was in confident mood after a strong display in Friday's practice sessions for the Indianapolis Grand Prix. The American was top of the pile in the morning and although he was pipped by Casey Stoner in the afternoon, Spies remained ahead of teammate Jorge Lorenzo.

With circuit conditions constantly improving throughout Friday, Spies is expecting the times to tumble tomorrow when further rubber is put down. Whatever the grip level, the home favourite feels pole position is up for grabs.

“I feel a lot better now, almost ok but when I'm off the bike I'm more in pain which is frustrating. It was a good start today, the first session I was waiting to see if the track was going to stay the same but in the end in the afternoon it improved a lot. We were able to be in the top three in both sessions which is great. The track is going to get even better for tomorrow so we’re looking forward to making another step forward and seeing what we can do.”

Meanwhile, Lorenzo had a mixed day with the Spaniard struggling significantly in the first session on the newly resurfaced track. The world champion improved in the afternoon to end the day in fourth but admits he needs to raise his game to challenge Spies.

“I started today struggling with the new asphalt. The morning was not good, but FP2 was much better and my feeling was really good. I’ve got grip on the rear now but I still have some problems with the front. I think we can still improve a lot in some parts. Ben is riding very, very well and it means I can be closer. I will try tomorrow to be at the same level as him.”

Team Director Massimo Meregalli was pleased with the performance of the YZR-M1 and expects both riders to be challenging at the sharp end in qualifying.

“It's definitely a good start today and the circuit conditions are improving. The bike behaviour is good so we are working to finalise the bike set up for Ben, overall he is happy so far. He still has a small issue with his arm but hopefully he will be ok for Sunday as he is proving that he can do a good job here. Jorge made a good improvement from the morning, the team found the right way to improve the bike. Tomorrow they will make another step and on Sunday I fully expect he will be up there.”