Indy MotoGP: New tarmac blasted by top riders

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Grip levels on the resurfaced infield section of the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been blasted by a host of top MotoGP riders after the opening day of practice.

The Indy infield was repaved for this weekend’s race after the track came in for heavy criticism in the past for being too bumpy and patchy.

The surface was blasted by most riders after the first day of practice, despite a big improvement in grip levels after more rubber was laid down as the day wore on.

Casey Stoner ended the opening day quickest but he was critical of the new surface.
The Repsol Honda rider, who goes into Sunday’s race holding a 32-point lead over Jorge Lorenzo, said: “It is very slippery and on such a tight and twisty track it is definitely not the best conditions to be out there in.

"We saw a big improvement from the first to the second session but it is still by no means in good condition. We’ve got to wait until the surface starts giving us the right feedback.

"At the moment we’re riding around like we’re in wet weather and we’re not really pushing the bike until you feel where the limit is.

"You just ride to what you think you can get away with. We are also chewing the tyres up pretty bad.  We’ve got a fair bit of work to do with that to make them last a little longer.”

Later in his media debrief he said the track was ‘terrible’ and added: “Sorry I can’t be dishonest with that but I don’t think I’ve ever ridden on a worse surface other than Qatar when there was a lot of dust on it.

"Where they have layered the tarmac and joined two together there seems to be grease slicks and you will be riding and it will seem consistent and then all of a sudden it will slip away from you. There’s no real reason why.

"The bumps are better than last year but still some corners that aren’t fantastic and some that are worse than before. The times will get better but with low grip we’re destroying the tyres pretty quickly and that’s not the best thing.

"As far as I know they’ve had racing on this surface so why it is so dirty and slippery I’ve no idea but it seems to be very dangerous at the moment. Nobody is willing to push too hard at this point.”

Lorenzo also said the surface was one of the worst he’d ever ridden on after the opening session and the reigning world champion said: “I don’t feel safe on this new asphalt.

"To be honest I never try asphalt so slippery like that and it seems it’s very dirty and doesn’t improve so much from the first lap to the last lap.

"So I’m very disappointed about the new asphalt. There are less bumps than last year, but the asphalt is so bad, so I prefer last year’s asphalt with the bumps.

"Like this it’s really uncomfortable to ride and I don’t imagine a rain race, because it’s going to be a disaster. We have to put maybe motocross tyres on this track.”

Lorenzo was almost four seconds faster in the second session and he added: “Luckily the track was better in the afternoon because in the morning it was terrible.

"Now it seems quite similar to last year but if you make a mistake in some corners and go wide and go in the dirty line you can crash. But if you can keep the normal line it is similar to last year and I'm happy for that."

Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa also said the track was better in previous years with all the bumps and the Spaniard said: “It’s absolutely not improved. It’s very slippery. There is absolutely no grip. It was much, much better before it was. The grip is so poor you just can’t lean the bike in the corners and the tyres looked destroyed this morning.

"We hope with a little more running, a little more rubber on the track we can get a little better grip performance and tyre wear, because at the moment it’s completely horrible.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt