JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Team Yamaha has the MotoGP pole for Sunday’s Red Bull U.S. GP at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with a lap of 1:21.678. However, the quick lap was his twenty-third around the 2.238-mile elevated road course, before he took a horrific flying tumble exiting Turn Three on his twenty-seventh lap. Both Lorenzo and the bike took multiple tumbles, and he landed on his right knee at least twice. Afterwards, it appeared that knee was hurt.
Earlier, while leading, Lorenzo took quite a tumble in Turn Nine, and he and the motorcycle went flying into the gravel pit – separately. Both were tumbling head over tea kettle. Lorenzo quickly recovered and ran to the closest SCRAMP bike for a ride to the garage. He ran in quickly and was literally scrubbed down by one of his team while the rest rallied around the bike. Sing along with me – pick yourself up, dust your self off, and start all over again.
Last year’s Laguna winner, VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Team Yamaha, was second. He said “It would be a good race as he and Lorenzo had similar race setups.”
CASEY STONER/Ducati Team Ducati finished third, after dueling fiercely with Lorenzo throughout the session, leading several times. Stoner also took a late flying leap, tumbling in the same corner. The bike was pushed into the garage, and the door was pulled down shut. Stoner, who has been exhausted all weekend was last seen being escorted by his team into the Medical Center.
Stoner’s qualifying track record of 1:21.488 set last year remained intact.
Earlier, Stoner had two episodes. On Lap 11 he came down the Corkscrew, stood up on his bike and then bobbled and seemed off his pace for the rest of that lap. Stoner pitted and came in to the garage, just shaking his head as he sat down. After a short rest, he went back out. On his twentieth lap, Stoner rode wide off track into the Turn Nine gravel pit and was able to slow it down before he hit the tire wall. Stoner again continued on into the garage, rested and went back on track.
Stoner will have lab tests run Monday locally with sports medicine/orthopedic surgeon, DR ARTHUR TING, who has treated other MotoGP and AMA riders including NICKY HAYDEN. Ting also treats athletes in a wide variety of other sports, including BARRY BONDS, formerly of the San Francisco Giants.
DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda Team Honda hurt his hip during the Italian race, and was off the pace for a bit; but he is fine now. He briefly led mid session, before ending up fourth. Honda hasn’t won a race yet this season.
Fifth was up and comer, ANDREA DOVIZIOSO/Repsol Honda Team Honda.
Not exactly a flag waving day for the two Yankee riders. COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha was running in the teens but rallied for a seventh spot on the grid. 2006 MotoGP champion and two time winner at Laguna Seca, NICKY HAYDEN/Ducati Team Ducati, ran as high as seventh and qualified eighth.
The only MotoGP rookie this weekend, NICOLO CANEPA/Pramac Racing Ducati, slid and fell off his motorcycle on track and the two went off into the gravel. He is unhurt. Canepa qualified sixteenth.
This year all the MotoGP riders run Bridgestone tyres, which has signed a three-year contract as sole supplier. For this race, Bridgestone engineer, THOMAS SCHULZ, selected medium and hard compounds to bring to the race. Each rider gets 20 tyres, eight fronts and twelve rears. The riders/teams make the selection as to which tyre to run in any given session. There is no deadline for tyre choice before the race.
MotoGP qualifying TV coverage in London showed Lorenzo being transported via ambulance to the Clinica Mobile at the track. He gestured to his right knee when Dr. Costa met him. The same British TV coverage showed Stoner carried off on a stretcher, with a TV message saying he was OK.
At this point, there is no further information on the medical condition of any rider. Stay tuned.