INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Spain's Dani Pedrosa posted the fastest lap and set a record in the speed trap Friday during practice for the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
The two-time MotoGP runner-up still couldn't knock Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi out of the headlines.
While Pedrosa positioned himself as the favorite to win the pole Saturday, completing the 2.621-mile, 16-turn road course in 1 minute, 39.783 seconds, the reigning world champion and seven-time world champ actually found something they could agree on -- track conditions.
"I don't really need to enjoy a track to be successful, my riding doesn't go on emotion," said Stoner, the brash Aussie with three straight wins in America including Indy last year. "There are a couple of corners here that are quite fast, but the circuit being so bad and so slippery, you can't really attack the corner."
Rossi, the 2008 Indy winner, also compared the track to driving in wet conditions.
Pedrosa, the 2009 Indy winner, had less trouble getting around the course. He was clocked going 208.6 mph in the speed trap, a new track record on the more powerful 990cc bikes.
"It was very slippery, there was almost no grip and the tires are suffering, so we have much work to do for qualifying and the race," said Pedrosa, the 2009 Indy winner. "It's quite bumpy, and it's hard to find good lines."
Not so when it comes to biggest story line of all: The feuding world champs.
Earlier this week, Stoner slammed Rossi for his poor results since moving from Yamaha to Ducati and criticized Rossi for complaining too much about his bike.
The 33-year-old Italian has finished on the podium just twice since leaving making the switch after the 2010 season, so last week, Rossi announced he was leaving Ducati to rejoin Yamaha where he will be paired with 2010 world champion Jorge Lorenzo next season.
Lorenzo leads Pedrosa by 23 points in this year's standings. Rossi is eighth, 123 points behind Lorenzo.
"This is a great pity for me and Ducati and for all of our fans, but especially for all the guys that work with me at this project because I want to try to be competitive," Rossi said Thursday. "Italian rider with Italian bike, but unfortunately, it doesn't happen. These two seasons are very difficult, and we are struggling very much. Unfortunately, we were not able to improve our speed, our performance, and to fight for the good position, for the front position."
Things haven't gone much better for Rossi here.
He's finished 17th, fourth and 10th in the previous three Indy races, and Friday, he was 10th on the speed charts with a fast lap of 1:41.529, nearly 2 seconds behind Pedrosa and almost a full second behind Stoner (1:40.623).
Stoner has not backed down from his earlier comments though he tried to tone things down when the two appeared together at Thursday's news conference.
"I still stand by what I said," Stoner said, explaining that he's made those comments over the past 18 months.
A little more than 24 hours later, the results hadn't changed much.
Pedrosa and Stoner both finished with top-five lap times for Repsol Honda.
American Ben Spies and Lorenzo of Spain, the Yamaha Factory riders, were second and third. Spies, the 2010 pole winner, was clocked at 1:40.078. Lorenzo, who won the 2010 world title and at Indy that season, was third at 1:40.502. Another Italian, Andrea Dovizioso of Monster Yamaha, was fourth at 1:40.560.
Meanwhile, the struggles continued for Ducati. American Nicky Hayden was ninth at 1:41.397 and Rossi was right behind him.
"We're getting better all the time, but the problem is we haven't done enough," Hayden said. "Until there's a couple of Ducatis on the podium, we have to keep our head down."
At least Rossi will have a chance to race Sunday.
Spain's Hector Barbera will not. The 25-year-old was taken from the track on a stretcher, transported to Methodist Hospital and diagnosed with a fractured vertebra after crashing in practice. Neurological scans were negative, and doctors planned to keep him overnight.
But the injury will force Pramac Racing Team to make a change. Barbera was attempting to return from a July 20 training accident in which he broke two bones in his lower left leg. He missed the U.S. Grand Prix on July 29 at Laguna Seca and will now be replaced by Toni Elias at Indy. Elias won the 2010 Moto2 race at Indy.
"First of all, I have to say I feel sorry for Hector because it's not nice when you have a crash like his and you get injured," Elias said. "I know it will be difficult to ride with them, but my target for (qualifying) tomorrow is to be as close as possible."