Indy MotoGP: Day of crashes
TOO FAR TO WALK: Honda MotoGP rider Casey Stoner is stretchered to the Indianapolis track hospital after being spat off his race bike during 2012 MotoGP qualifying. Image: AP
Author: Michael Marot
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - Reigning MotoGP champion Casey Stoner may not get a chance to defend his Indianapolis title after a crash-filled day on Saturday.
American Nicky Hayden won't get to race in front of his home fans and a track Stoner severely criticised a year earlier.
Stoner, 2011 pole-starter, crashed during qualifying and, after initial worries about more-serious injuries after his bike flipped him through the air and along the track before he rolled to a stop on the grass, was said to have "small, marginal" fractures in his right ankle.
OVER THE BARS
Hayden also crashed and flew into the air. Officials said he regained consciousness and was taken to a hospital for a CT scan.
Stoner's Honda wobbled, he tried to regain control, but almost instantly flew over the handlebars. He tried to walk back to his bike but called a medical team and he was stretchered away.
Originally, doctors thought Stoner had broken his right ankle - an injury that probably would've ended his chance of becoming the race's first two-time winner.
If he is cleared to race on Sunday he'll start sixth on the 23-bike starting grid after completing the 16-turn course in 1min39.465. Hayden's team mate with Repsol Honda, Spain's Dani Pedrosa, took pole with 1min38.813.
Australian Stoner has already announced he'll retire at the end of the 2012 season. He wasn't the only rider struggling to tame the Indy track.
AND THE OTHER...
With less than nine minutes left in the one-hour qualifying session, Hayden had an even scarier crash. The Ducati rider wobbled coming through a turn, then spun sideways, launching into the air and somersaulting across the track before coming to a stop in a prone position. Without the crash, he would have started eighth after posting 1min39.748.
• American Ben Spies, about four minutes before Hayden's crash, slid off and went rolling through the dirt. He got up, made it back on to the track and will start fourth. Following practice, Spies went to the infield track centre for more evaluation.
• Hector Faubel of Spain flew off his bike during qualifying for the Moto3 race. A spokeswoman for the Bankia Aspar team said the rider went to hospital with bruised ribs and an injured back.
• Hector Barbera, who crashed during Friday practice, is heading home to Spain for more tests after fracturing three vertebrae - two of which were previously broken in a 2008 crash. Toni Elias, the Spaniard who won 2010 Indianapolis Moto2 race, replaced Barbera on the No. 24 bike Saturday and qualified 17th for the Pramac team.
Qualifying times on Saturday for Sunday's MotoGP
1 Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 1min38.813
2 Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Yamaha) at +0.100
3 Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Yamaha) +0.422
4 Ben Spies (USA/Yamaha) +0.466
5 Stefan Bradl (GER/Honda) +0.624
6 Casey Stoner (AUS/Honda) +0.652
7 Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Yamaha) +0.736
8 Nicky Hayden (USA/Ducati) +0.935
9 Alvaro Bautista (ESP/Honda) +1.259
10 Randy de Puniet (FRA/Aprilia) +1.624
11 Valentino Rossi (ITA/Ducati) +1.950