Assen MotoGP: Marco Melandri dislocates left shoulder

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Marco Melandri suffered a dislocated left shoulder after a massive high-side crash in this morning’s final free practice session at the famous Assen circuit.

The Italian ran off track at the Ruskenhoek corner but disaster struck when he tried to steer his San Carlo Gresini Honda back on track.

Melandri was able scrub off speed on the ample tarmac run-off but as he attempted to negotiate a small strip of grass to get back on the track, the former world 250GP champion was viciously high-sided. 

Melandri is currently undergoing treatment in an Assen hospital but will definitely miss tomorrow’s 26-lap race. 

Early indications are that he will be fit for the Catalunya race near Barcelona next weekend.

It is the third race in succession that a top rider has suffered a big injury. Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi is currently at home in Italy recovering from the broken right leg he suffered in a practice crash at his home race in Mugello earlier this month.

And the last ever 250GP champion Hiroshi Aoyama suffered a broken back when he fell heavily during the warm-up session for last weekend’s British MotoGP clash at Silverstone.

The grid was only back up to 16 entries with Aoyama’s Interwetten Honda squad bringing in HRC test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi as cover for the Assen and Catalunya races.

Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo continued his domination of the Dutch GP to set the quickest time in this morning’s sun-drenched session.

The Fiat Yamaha rider clocked a best time of 1.34.769 to beat 2007 world champion Casey Stoner by 0.319s Dani Pedrosa was third quickest on his Repsol Honda RC212V with a time of 1.35.451. That was a massive 0.682s away from Lorenzo.

Nicky Hayden also crashed this morning but the American was able to walk away unhurt.

The 2006 world champion ended the session with the fifth best time after another eye-catching performance from compatriot Ben Spies.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was fourth fastest after posting a best lap of 1.35.518.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt