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Page last updated at 22:38 GMT, Friday, 28 August 2009 23:38 UK

Matt Roberts' Indianapolis practice report

Indianapolis MotoGP
Date: 29-30 August
Saturday 29 August: Qualifying: 1750-2100, BBC Red Button/online Sunday 30 August: 125cc and 250cc races: 1650-1805, BBC Red Button/online Race live: 1945-2100, BBC Three/online

By Matt Roberts
BBC Sport at Indianapolis Motorspeedway

Ducati rider Nicky Hayden
Hands up if you'd like a new contract with Ducati...

The wet weather curse that forced last year's race here at Indy to be halted eight laps from the end struck again on Friday, with the first free practice at the Brickyard a virtual washout.

The riders were at least able to complete a full session in the soaking conditions, with Dani Pedrosa the surprise package at the front ahead of Nicky Hayden, who is determined to put on a good show for the locals just three hours drive from his Kentucky home.

Hayden is wearing a special edition helmet this weekend featuring the logo of the 'Make a Wish' foundation, which will be auctioned off after the race.

"All the money will go towards the foundation which helps kids' dreams come true," explained Nicky.

"I have worked with this charity for five years now and it always feels good to help out such a solid cause, and yes, I have already made my wish for the weekend!"

That wish could be for a new contract with Ducati, with Jorge Lorenzo having played the role of an unlikely fairy godmother this week in turning down the offer of Nicky's ride in favour of an extra year at Yamaha.

Lorenzo, who also does a lot of work for children's charities in Spain, was somewhat more self-indulgent with his choice of special helmet design for this weekend - the self-styled superhero going for a conspicuous Captain America look.

With Loris Capirossi confirmed as team-mate to Alvaro Bautista at Suzuki for next year, Chris Vermeulen - who shares Hayden's manager - is also keeping his fingers crossed for good news.

"At the moment I'm still unsure although it is clear that I won't be with Suzuki," admitted the Australian.

"I want to stay in the MotoGP paddock and we are talking with some teams at the moment, but things are not decided yet and hopefully I will know a lot more after this weekend. The teams are private teams, but we have to wait and see."

Aleix Espargaró (I told you to remember his name!) made an impressive MotoGP debut in the treacherously wet conditions.

Aleix Espargaro
Espargaro got his chance in MotoGP because of Casey Stoner's illness

His first run-out was all the more impressive considering the three different types of asphalt used at Indy, which make it an unpredictable place to ride even in the best of conditions.

Riding the notorious Ducati Desmosedici for the first time ever, Espargaró was more than two seconds quicker than his team-mate Niccolo Canepa and also outpaced Gabor Talmasci on the satellite Honda.

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see also
Capirossi extends Suzuki contract
28 Aug 09 |  MotoGP
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
26 Aug 09 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo pens new deal with Yamaha
25 Aug 09 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo crash hands Rossi victory
16 Aug 09 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts' MotoGP column
17 Jun 09 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts' MotoGP column
02 Jun 09 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts' MotoGP column
19 May 09 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts' MotoGP column
05 May 09 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts' MotoGP column
28 Apr 09 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts' MotoGP column
14 Apr 09 |  MotoGP

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