Sunday, May 23

SPIES, KALLIO & BAUTISTA HURT

TEXAN Ben Spies, Finn Mika Kalio and Spaniard Alvaro Bautista were all injured during practice for the May 23 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France.

Bautista was the worst affect, and will not start the MotoGP race, leaving Loris Capirossi as the sole Suzuki rider on the grid.

Bautista suffered from a big high-side on only the third lap of Saturday morning’s practice session. He landed hard and sustained some more minor injuries, as well as aggravating the broken collarbone that sustained only a week ago. Bautista was one of three riders to all crash on the same lap, caught out by the low track temperatures. He was treated by Dr. Costa’s staff straight after the session and after careful consideration and discussions with the team, took the decision to abandon any further attempts to race this weekend.
Bautista will return to Spain for further treatment - as well as rest and recuperation - to make sure he is 100% fit for the next round of the season at Mugello in Italy in two weeks’ time.

Meantine Kallio put on a brave face and rode on with a painful shoulder after crashing his Pramac Ducati in practice earlier in the day, eventually qualifying 16th. He rose from 17th on the grid at the Spanish GP at Jerez to place seventh and will aiming for a similar recovery on Sunday.

"Fortunately the shoulder is not broken. Despite the pain I really wanted to take part in qualifying and I tried to get the perfect balance for the bike for the race,” said the Finn. “Unfortunately, the pain and the time that I lost have only allowed me to take half a second off the time I have achieved in the practice on Friday. To start again from the bottom of the grid is not so nice, but I will give it my best to repay the tremendous work the team have done for me."

Ben Spies proved he's got the bravery to match the speed in Saturday afternoon's qualifying session, which was run in sunny and humid conditions that saw air temperature peak at 28 degrees. The Texan suffered a big crash in the early stages of the morning's final practice session when he lost control of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine at the entry to the Dunlop chicane.

Spies was thrown several metres in the air before landing heavily. He suffered a badly swollen left foot, but despite discomfort when downshifting and changing direction, he quickly built up his pace and confidence, despite missing nearly a whole hour of crucial set-up time. Only a quarter of the qualifying session had elapsed when he broke into the top ten and the 25-year-old continued to defy the pain with a series of consistent laps. But his efforts didn't see him maintain his place in the top ten. A best time of 1m34.920s left him 12th on the grid, though he remains confident that he can challenge in the battle for the top six in Sunday's 28-lap encounter.