Colin Edwards survived a 160mph fireball in the first free practice for Sunday’s German Grand Prix, escaping with only minor burns to his left side.
The American rider was going through the fastest part of the circuit when the fuel filler cap worked loose on the tank of his Aprilia RS3. As the fuel splashed out of the tank it caught fire engulfing both the bike and rider in a ball of flames.
The only escape that Edwards had was to jump off the triple at 160mph and roll away before the fire took hold.
Amazingly he managed to escape with only a small burn to his left leg and another on his left arm.
He will be racing on Sunday but the incident left him seriously behind the other riders in terms of getting a good setup for the race.
Despite the damp conditions most riders put in about 30 laps and Valantino Rossi took his Honda RCV to the best time of the session at 1:25.210. Max Biaggi was pushing hard to beat his Italian rival, setting his best time on his last lap out, but he couldn’t quite match Rossi’s pace, missing out on the top spot by just 0.009 seconds.
Sete Gibernau made it a Honda 1-2-3, taking his Telefonica Movistar RCV to the third fastest time 0.138 seconds behind Rossi.
Gibernau was followed by the two Fortuna Yamahas of Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri while Proton’s Jeremy McWilliams, still riding his two-stroke KR3, put in an impressive performance to take the sixth fastest time, less than half a second down on Rossi.
Ducati’s Loris Capirossi took seventh fastest followed by Biaggi’s team-mate Tohru Ukawa in eighth.
Only Gibernau’s team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari and WCM two-stroke riders David De Gea and Chris Burns putting in slower times than Colin Edwards.
Check back regularly throughout the weekend for full reports on all the action from the German GP and World Superbikes at Brands Hatch.
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