MCN MotoGP reporter Matt Birt spends his days, nights and weekends getting to know the GP world better than anyone. Now he's sharing the experiences of being a top GP reporter with a new blog.
"The hot topic of debate as everybody left the paddock under grey skies tonight was the fitness of Spanish world title contender Dani Pedrosa.
Pedrosa crashed at Turn 13 just before the long back straight in this afternoon’s second practice session and suffered a deep puncture wound in his right knee.
It was the same place he crashed out of on the first lap in last year’s 250 race, though today’s incident could have far more severe consequences, with some Spanish pressroom colleagues seriously doubting that Pedrosa will be able to ride on Sunday. Not that journalist’s are renowned for exaggerating things of course.
Pedrosa needed four stitches in the gaping wound, and that has created seriously restricted movement in his right leg.
According to team staff that saw him in the circuit medical centre, when he attempts to bend the knee, it just pulls the wound open. If Pedrosa can’t ride then he can kiss goodbye to any hopes of winning the MotoGP crown at the first attempt.
Alberto Puig, Pedrosa’s mentor and manager, had a worried and concerned look when I spotted him tonight in the paddock, and he has every reason too.
With Phillip Island and Motegi to follow on successive weekends, it seems highly likely that Pedrosa will be hampered by the injury for those two races too.
I think it will take wild horses to stop him from riding, even though 21-laps around Sepang will feel like 121 in this punishing heat.
What he lacks in stature though he makes up for in guts as we’ve seen from him in the past.
Riding through the pain barrier is an unfortunate but inevitable part of the job. The critical thing will be just how much the wound restricts him on the bike.
The bad thing for Pedrosa was he was second fastest today behind the dominant Loris Capirossi, with closest title rivals Valentino Rossi a disappointing seventh, and Repsol Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden way down in 11th.
On a lighter note, there was plenty of drama off the track too last night. We had a slight problem driving back to the hotel. It’s not unusual for tropical storms to suddenly lash Kuala Lumpur, and that was the case heading back to Subang Jaya. Now being British, driving in torrential rain isn’t exactly an alien concept.
The only glitch is that on our Proton, the windscreen wiper on the driver’s side isn’t actually attached to the windscreen. It just sits about two inches away from the screen and won’t budge. So when you get caught in the rain visibility without windscreen wipers becomes a bit of an issue. In a monster tropical storm it became a major issue.
Suffice to say we still made it back in time for a cracking curry, all washed down with a couple of Tiger beers, though looking out of the press room window it looks like we could be in for another long trip to the hotel. It never rains, it pours eh?"
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