Dani Pedrosa was relieved to escape injury after a freak incident during this morning’s opening practice session for the Czech Republic MotoGP race in Brno.
The Spaniard was chasing Valentino Rossi when the Italian made a small mistake exiting the final corner and the rear wheel of his factory Ducati GP12 touched the grass as he powered down the home straight.
Rossi’s bike kicked up dirt and debris and two large rocks struck Pedrosa.
One he said that was roughly the size of a tennis ball struck him hard on the top of his left foot and Pedrosa admitted to MCN that initially he had feared the impact had broken his foot.
Pedrosa, who trails Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo by 18-points in the title hunt with just seven races remaining, told MCN: “This morning I was behind Valentino and he went a little bit to the outside and he threw up two big rocks that hit me. One hit the front of the bike on the screen and broke everything on the front and also a little part on my helmet. The other one hit my foot and it was a pretty strong hit. The rocks were quite big and I thought at the beginning that I had something broken but later I could see the pain was going down and this is normally a good sign. I have some pain in my foot on the top. I don’t know my speed but the speed of the rock was really fast. It was like it had been shot out of a gun. It was super strong and it was like a rocket. I could see it coming but I was too close and I couldn’t do anything to avoid it.”
Rossi said he was only aware of the incident when he saw a replay on TV and the 33-year-old said: “I make a mistake. The problem is that there were some stones on the ground that should not have been there. I went a bit wide unfortunately so I hope he is ok. But I didn't do it on purpose."
Pedrosa recovered from the incident to set the fastest time on the opening day of practice. His best lap of 1.56.858 put him just 0.053s ahead of Lorenzo.
The 2012 title hunt is now just a two-rider fight between Pedrosa and Lorenzo after Casey Stoner was forced to withdraw from the Brno race. He is currently travelling back to Australia for surgery on the right ankle he badly damaged in a qualifying crash at Indianapolis six days ago.