Photography by Gold & Goose
The 2013 MotoGP World Championship suffered a huge blow today when defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo crashed out of the second free practice session at the Circuit van Drenthe, the Spaniard suffering a broken left collarbone that will keep him out of Saturday’s Grand Prix.
Lorenzo, who came into the Dutch round just seven points behind Dani Pedrosa and riding the wave of two successive victories, crashed in the fastest part of the track after hitting a puddle in a session held in torrential rain. The Yamaha man will spend the night in hospital in the Netherlands before being transferred to Spain where he will undergo surgery on the collarbone on Saturday with high hopes that the operation will get him ready for the German Grand Prix at the tight and twisty Sachsenring in 15 days. The week after the German round is the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, another track where riding with a shoulder injury won’t be easy.
Lorenzo’s crash came with less than 25 minutes to go in the session.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez ended up with the fastest time of the wet session, the young Spaniard clocking at 1:47.617 to best Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.
"I'm happy because today went pretty well," Marquez said. "From the beginning I felt good on the bike, both in the dry and wet conditions. Obviously there are still things to improve, especially in the dry, but overall I felt very comfortable and we’ll see if tomorrow the weather holds out for us, although the forecast is not too good. I hope for at least one dry practice in order to try to improve the setup, so fingers crossed we can have that tomorrow. As for the injury suffered by Jorge, he has been very unlucky. I think it's only the second crash that he has had this year, and it’s resulted in injury – which you never wish on any rider. I hope he makes a speedy recovery; I’m sure that in Germany he will be ready for battle again"
Rossi’s best was a 1:47.869 as those two were the only riders to crack the 1:48 mark in the treacherous conditions.
“It's been a positive day for us because in the dry it was not so bad this morning, we continued to work with our new setting and the first impression was positive, although we still have to work to improve," Rossi said in a team release. "We had something important to try this afternoon in the dry, but unfortunately it was wet. Anyway we continued our work in the wet and it was a good practice, we did a good job with our new setting and the bike was also very good in the wet. I improved lap by lap; I had good pace and I was in second position. We have to continue to work in both conditions, everybody knows here in Assen it can be wet or dry. Unfortunately Jorge had a big crash and an injury. It's a great pity for Yamaha, for the team and for him as he is fighting for the championship. I hope that he comes back as soon as possible, hopefully for the next race in Sachsenring. I hope to do a good result because I am now the man of the team for Yamaha, for the factory team and all the guys.”
Championship leader Dani Pedrosa was third with a 1:48.240 the session that began as a sort of revenge of the CRTs. Two of the CRTs led parts of the session with Aleix Espargaro and Jonny Hernandez taking a turn at leading a MotoGP practice.
With 29 minutes to go, that ended when Cal Crutchlow put the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha at the top. That too was short-lived with Marquez taking over soon thereafter. Lorenzo went to second on the timesheets with 26:30 to go in the session and his crash came just a few minutes later.
The Spaniard was up on his feet after his sixth-gear crash and at first it looked as though he’d suffered a wrist injury, but it turns out he was just holding it in an effort to bring some relief to the pain in his shoulder. The ambulance arrived and whisked the defending champion away as the action continued without him.
The session ended with Marquez, Rossi and Pedrosa leading the way. Stefan Bradl rode his LCR Honda to fourth ahead of the first factory Ducati, ridden by Andrea Dovizioso. His teammate Nicky Hayden was next, credited with an identical 1:48.682.
Crutchlow, Danilo Petrucci, Hernandez and Michael Laverty rounded out the top 10.
Free Practice 2
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:47.617
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:47.869
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:48.240
4. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1:48.594
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:48.682
6. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:48.682
7. Cal Cruthclow (Yamaha) 1:48.761
8. Danilo Pedtrucci (IODA/Suter) 1:49.031
9. Yonny Hernandez (ART) 1:49.129
10. Michael Laverty (PBM) 1:49.438
23. Colin Edwards (FTR Kawasaki) 1:54.274