Valentino Rossi 12th after massive crash

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Valentino Rossi’s hopes of extending his remarkable Phillip Island record suffered a huge blow to day today after he was fortunate to escape injury in a massive qualifying crash.

The Italian ran off track on his Fiat Yamaha YZR-M1 at the perilously fast Southern Loop section, first running through the grass at high speed with about a quarter of the session remaining.

By the time he hit the gravel trap, the newly-crowned world champion had already lost control and he went tumbling out, suffering a muscle strain in his neck.

Badly shaken by the incident, Rossi did manage to get back out on track on his spare machine with only two minutes remaining, but he failed to post a faster lap time and his 1.30.014 will see him start from the fourth row.

Rossi’s crash was the same section of track where British World Superbike legend Carl Fogarty suffered a career ending crash in 2000, and it is taken flat-out in fifth gear

The 29-year-old didn’t attend his regular media debrief while he was treated at the track before returning to his hotel for a rest before tomorrow’s 27-lap race.

But he did say: “I was pushing a lot with the qualifying tyre but unfortunately I went too wide at turn two and I came onto the grass on the exit. I thought I could take the bike back onto the track but, as soon as I touched the muddy grass I lost control and I couldn’t stop it.

“Then I bumped my head and neck pretty hard when I landed in the gravel. It’s a pity that I will have to start from 12th tomorrow, because this afternoon, with my Bridgestone race tyres, I had a very good pace.

“Now Dr. Costa and the Clinica Mobile staff will work to put me in good shape again – I am having treatment on my neck and then I will go immediately back to the hotel to rest until tomorrow. Tomorrow I am sure I will feel a lot better; we have good tyres and a good set-up so I will try to ride a good race!”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt