Jorge Lorenzo admitted he was lucky on two counts as his bid for a sixth successive pole position ended in a cloud of dust and gravel at Brno today.
The Fiat Yamaha rider was bidding to move up from third position in the final three minutes when he crashed out.
He lost the front and could only watch as his YZR-M1 flew through the gravel trap and came to a halt lying on top of a trackside tyre wall.
His best time of 1.56.865 maintained his 100 per cent record of starting on the front in all ten races in 2010 but he admitted he was fortunate to walk away unscathed from the late spill.
He was also lucky to learn that his in-line four-cylinder engine had suffered no serious damage. If the Spaniard had lost an engine through crash damage, it would have placed serious doubt on whether he could have completed the season without needing to use more than his allocation of six engines.
The 23-year-old, who starts tomorrow’s 22-lap race with a comfortable 72-point advantage over fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, said: “It was a very hard session and maybe the worst of the year both technically and also for my riding style. I didn’t feel comfortable for any lap during the practice. We hope the engine is okay for tomorrow. I think it is going to be fine. To improve the setting of the bike and improve my riding is what I need to be faster tomorrow. The positive thing is the crash didn’t happen in the race and I didn’t hurt myself. For tomorrow the only goal is to be a little bit faster to make a good race.”
Repsol Honda Pedrosa claimed his first pole position since the Mugello round in early June and he said: “It was a great qualifying session and to be back on pole position is fantastic after such a long time - the last time was in Italy at the beginning of June. We've done a very good job so far this weekend and we have established a good pace for the race, but we still need to keep a clear mind, stay focused, and try to be ready for any conditions because the weather forecast for tomorrow is very uncertain. Anyway, the team did a very good job today and I hope if it's dry we can have a strong race and go for the victory. I won't really be approaching the race tomorrow with a particular strategy. In this championship you have to find your own limit because there are a lot of riders going fast and you can only concentrate on your own performance and do the best you can. So I really hope to do a great job tomorrow and at least to be back on the podium.”