Dani Pedrosa translated his practice dominance into pole position for the Indianapolis Grand Prix but the session was overshadowed by heavy crashes for three leading riders. Casey Stoner, Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden were all launched off their motorcycles at turns 13 & 14 and while Spies escaped serious injury, Hayden was hurt badly enough to rule him out of tomorrow’s race while Stoner is also a serious doubt.
The reigning world champion was the first to go down as the rear Bridgestone lost grip exiting turn thirteen, catapulting him into the air before landing heavily on his left ankle. Initial reports stated ligament damage for the Australian while a later check-up revealed marginal fractures to his ankle. His status for the race is still in doubt with further news expected tomorrow.
Ben Spies suffered a near identical crash although he was fortunate compared to his fellow countryman. Nicky Hayden’s highside came a little further round as he approached turn fourteen but the highside was so severe that he was knocked unconscious when he landed. The home favourite suffered a concussion as well as fractures to the second and third metacarpals on his right hand, cruelly keeping him from racing tomorrow.
The incidents involving Stoner and Hayden brought out the red flags and Stoner was actually quickest of all at the time of his crash. By the time Hayden had fallen, Dani Pedrosa had taken a firm grip on pole position with a 1:39.152 but the sole remaining Repsol Honda went quicker again two minutes from time, setting the fastest ever two-wheeled lap time of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
As it turned out, Pedrosa was right to go out again despite the regular incidents occurring around him. Jorge Lorenzo had also ventured out for another run and his 1:38.913 would’ve taken pole but for Dani’s late flyer. With Stoner and Spies failing to improve after crashing, the door was left open for Andrea Dovizioso to snatch third from the other factory Yamaha while Stefan Bradl snuck in front of Stoner for fifth.
Cal Crutchlow will have work to do from seventh while Alvaro Bautista and Randy de Puniet will join him on row three due to Nicky Hayden’s injuries which will prevent him from taking his eighth place on the grid. Compounding a miserable day for Ducati, Valentino Rossi was only eleventh with de Puniet’s CRT machine outqualifying him while Aleix Espargaro came with 0.049s of doing likewise on the other Aspar.