This afternoon's second session of free practice was riddled with incident. After Casey Stoner, Randy de Puniet and Toni Elias had crashed during the morning's practice, the afternoon got much worse. Jorge Lorenzo, John Hopkins, Randy de Puniet (again) and Dani Pedrosa all came off, but unlike this morning, they did not all escape without injury.
The worst of the crashers was - once again - Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo had a very nasty crash on the run down towards the final corner, with one hand trapped beneath the bike at first, then ending up tumbling badly through the gravel. He was not able to tell the corner workers where he was - the standard question which all crashed riders have to answer - and was taken to Dr Costa's Clinica Mobile for further examination. Initial X-rays on his ankles did not show any more damage to his ankles, but he was taken to a local hospital for further examination, and a possible scan for injuries to his head. At the moment, Lorenzo seems unlikely to return this weekend. And frankly, he would also be very unwise to get back on a bike.
John Hopkins also took a nasty tumble, though he came away with less injury, suffering only a nasty contusion on his back. He did not go out again for the rest of the session, but is likely to return on Saturday. Both Dani Pedrosa and Randy de Puniet came away unhurt.
The big surprise of the session was Loris Capirossi. The Suzuki veteran was fastest for most of the session, only being beaten by Dani Pedrosa with 11 minutes to go. Chris Vermeulen was also fast, finishing in 6th spot, so Suzuki have definitely found something for Barcelona. The other surprise was the Gresini Honda team. Alex de Angelis was 5th fastest, ahead of Shinya Nakano in 7th. The team is definitely carrying momentum in the Catalan Grand Prix.
Otherwise, it was a fairly familiar story. Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi were all fast, and all look to be on the pace for Sunday. The other three Ducatis and Ant West finished at the bottom of the pile, with Melandri the slowest Ducati once again.
There's not much separating the riders at the front, though. The first 4 riders are covered by less than a tenth of a second, and there's 13 riders inside of a second. If it stays this close, we could be in for a very good race on Sunday. But first, there's Free Practice on Saturday morning, followed by Qualifying in the afternoon.
||Alex DE ANGELIS
||Randy DE PUNIET
|Circuit Record Lap:
|Circuit Best Lap: