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Stoner Eyes MotoGP Pole After Leading Opening Practice

MotoGP World Championship points leader Casey Stoner never has finished on the podium in two career starts at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, but the speed he displayed Friday, Aug. 26 indicates that dry spell may be coming to an end.

Stoner, from Australia, was the quickest rider overall in two practice sessions for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, turning a top lap of 1 minute, 40.724 seconds on his Repsol Honda during the afternoon session. His best finish at this event was fourth in 2008.

American Ben Spies was second at 1:40.918 on a Yamaha Factory Racing machine. Spies won his first career MotoGP pole last year at this event. Last year’s race winner, Dani Pedrosa, was third Friday at 1:41.205 on a Repsol Honda.

MotoGP practice starts at 10:10 a.m. Saturday, followed by qualifying at 1:55 p.m.

All riders posted their quickest times Friday in the afternoon session after more rubber was worked into the freshly-paved infield section of the 2.621-mile circuit during morning practices for MotoGP, Moto2, 125cc and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series.

“This afternoon, with a lot more rubber down, it was a lot better, and hats off to the folks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” American MotoGP standout Colin Edwards said. “They’ve done an amazing job because the bumps that have been really bad have mostly gone, and with a bit more rubber down, the surface is going to offer a lot more grip.”

Edwards was sixth overall at 1:41.699 on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine. 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden rounded out the American contingent in eighth at 1:41.789 on his Ducati.

Seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi continued his struggles with the Ducati GP11.1 in his first season with the famous Italian manufacturer. Rossi, winner of this race in 2008, was 11th at 1:42.405 as he continued to search for front-tire traction.

“The track is better,” Rossi said. “The grip arrived. I have some problems because I don’t feel the front. I have big trouble from the braking of the turn. The weight distribution is better. We are quite behind. For tomorrow, we have something very different to try.”

Simone Corsi of Italy led Moto2 practice at 1:46.274 on the Ioda Racing Project FTR. Kenny Noyes was the leading American, 15th at 1:47.081 on an Avintia-STX FTR. Americans Jake Gagne and JD Beach were 22nd and 32nd, respectively.

World Championship points leader Nico Terol of Spain led the 125cc class at 1:49.381 on the Bankia Aspar Team 125cc Aprilia. Terol is the only two-time winner of this event, victorious in 2008 and 2010 in 125cc.

All three World Championship classes practice Saturday morning, with 125cc at 9:15 a.m., MotoGP at 10:10 a.m. and Moto2 at 11:10 a.m. Qualifying follows at 1 p.m. for 125cc, 1:55 p.m. for MotoGP and 3:10 p.m. for Moto2.

The first of two races for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series during this event is scheduled for 4:20 p.m. Series points leader

***

2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets: 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets are on sale now.

To buy tickets, visit www.imstix.com, call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street. Ticket office and phone hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

The 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP is scheduled for Aug. 26-28 at IMS.

Race Day general admission tickets cost $40, with Friday general admission $10 and Saturday general admission $20. A three-day general admission ticket is $60. A Friday-Saturday general admission ticket is $25.

Children ages 12 and under will be admitted free any of the three days of the event when accompanied by an adult with a general admission ticket.

Race Day reserved seat prices will start at $70.

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