St Petersburg IndyCar: Penske's Simon Pagenaud tops first practice

Simon Pagenaud was quickest in the first IndyCar Series practice session of 2016 in St Petersburg, while his Penske team-mate Will Power escaped a violent crash

St Petersburg IndyCar: Penske's Simon Pagenaud tops first practice

A long red flag period was required when Power slammed into the wall on the exit of the Turn 9 left-hander, destroying much of his Dallara-Chevrolet's right-hand side.

Power, who got out of the car unaided after a brief pause, confessed to having been adjusting his brake bias when he lost control with just under half an hour of the 75-minute Friday morning session to go.

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That left Power only 17th on the timesheets, but the rest of the Penske trio was in the top 10 - with Pagenaud leading the way, Helio Castroneves third and Juan Pablo Montoya eighth.

AJ Foyt Racing was the other team looking strong, heading the Honda contingent with Jack Hawksworth second and Takuma Sato fourth.

Hawksworth's early 1m01.7870s lap proved unbeatable for most of the morning. Only Pagenaud's 1m01.7246s nine minutes from the end denied the Briton the top spot.

Ryan Hunter-Reay completed the top five and was Andretti Autosport's top representative.

Reigning champion Scott Dixon was sixth, ahead of Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan.

The strong rookie pack started the year towards the back of the field.

Alexander Rossi was the fastest of them in 18th for Andretti, just in front of Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot in Rahal Letterman Lanigan's additional entry.

Rossi's fellow ex-Manor Formula 1 racer Max Chilton brought up the rear in his first official session as a Ganassi IndyCar driver.

Autosport Race Centre Live will bring you full coverage of the season opener from 4:45pm UK time this Sunday.

PRACTICE RESULTS:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.7246s - 19
2 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1m01.7870s 0.0624s 20
3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.8051s 0.0805s 11
4 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1m01.8411s 0.1165s 15
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m01.8734s 0.1488s 16
6 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.9622s 0.2376s 18
7 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.9967s 0.2721s 23
8 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.0964s 0.3718s 13
9 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.1471s 0.4225s 19
10 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m02.1546s 0.4300s 18
11 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m02.1581s 0.4335s 16
12 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.1621s 0.4375s 18
13 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m02.1838s 0.4592s 18
14 Josef Newgarden Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.2366s 0.5120s 19
15 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m02.2415s 0.5169s 18
16 Luca Filippi Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m02.2881s 0.5635s 18
17 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.4351s 0.7105s 5
18 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m02.5897s 0.8651s 22
19 Spencer Pigot Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m02.8354s 1.1108s 27
20 Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m02.9269s 1.2023s 26
21 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m03.2808s 1.5562s 21
22 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m03.3808s 1.6562s 34


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St Petersburg IndyCar: Penske driver Power fastest in practice two

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