US MotoGP: Huge crash fails to slow Jorge Lorenzo

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A huge high-side after the end of final practice failed to prevent Jorge Lorenzo from claiming a stunning pole position for today’s US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

The reigning world champion suffered a vicious high-side just seconds after he made a practice start in the short straight between the fourth and fifth corner at the California track.

The sophisticated traction control system on Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha YZR-M1 was deactivated as he surged forward into second gear heading to the Turn 5 left-hander.

The traction control system is designed to activate when Lorenzo downshifts for the first corner of a race.

But in this case, he didn’t downshift, and as a consequence he went into Turn 5 without any traction control.

The result was a horrifying high-side that left Lorenzo fearing he’d broken his right leg, which would have left his 2011 MotoGP world title hopes in ruins.

Lorenzo said: “The impact was terrible and I could have been injured very badly but I’m fine. For the start simulation we have the traction control off because it doesn’t help to go faster and it only becomes active when you downshift again.  I shifted to second gear but for the corner I didn’t shift down so it seems the bike didn’t have traction control.

“The rear tyre lost control, so I much power with so little grip. I thought I would never touch the ground again, I was flying so much and it was too much time in the air. It was a very ugly crash and a very, very hard moment for me because I thought after the impact in the ground that my weekend was over. But fortunately in some minutes I recovered a little bit, so I was thinking to participate in qualifying, but I really didn’t expect to be so fast and to get the pole position.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt