Casey Stoner may still be looking for his first win of the season, but the Australian certainly got his Indianapolis weekend off to a perfect start. The Australian was the fastest rider in today's opening practice with a lap time of 1'40.884, making him the only rider to dip below the 1'41s during the hour-long session.
Stoner was running with the new front fork that he tested at Brno on his Desmosedici GP10 and the result appeared to be more than positive this afternoon, as he edged championship leader, Jorge Lorenzo, for the top slot on the timesheet.
Last year's race winner Lorenzo was quick throughout the practice session, leading until just 15 minutes before the end. The 23-year-old Mallorcan's best time of 1'41.109 left him 0.225s off Stoner's best as he attempts to extend his 77-point advantage in the championship standings this weekend.
Nicky Hayden, keen to impress in front of his home crowd, got off to a positive start as he set the third fastest time, before crashing uninjured in the final 15 minutes of the session. The Ducati rider returned to the track aboard his number two bike, but was unable to further improve his lap time.
Dani Pedrosa, who was in fast form at last year's Indianapolis meeting, was fourth quickest aboard the factory Repsol Honda RC212V with a lap time of 1'41.421, just four-hundredths of a second ahead of reigning MotoGP World Champion, Valentino Rossi, who was fifth on his Fiat Yamaha M1.
The American's were well represented in the top ten today, with Monster Yamaha Tec 3 rider Colin Edwards sixth fastest and teammate, Ben Spies, eventually finishing eighth fastest behind Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovisioso, despite a late crash that effectively ended the Texan's practice session five minutes early.
Aleix Espargaro aboard the Pramac Ducati and San Carlo Gresini Honda's Marco Melandri completed the top ten. Hiroshi Aoyama finished 16th fastest today, on his return to competitive action following a nine week lay-off through injury.