A spectacular high speed crash has halted MotoGP testing at the Sepang Circuit today.
Loris Baz (Avintia Racing Ducati) was lucky to walk away from the 290 km/h crash on the circuit’s main straight.
The cause of the crash is still unclear, but Baz said later he had heard a sound come from the back of the bike in the corner before the fall.
Eyewitnesses also reported seeing something fail in the rear of the bike, and photos taken after the crash showed a shredded rear tyre.
According to the bike’s data logger, Baz was flung over the handlebars at 290.4 km/h.
Remarkably, he was able to return to testing later in the day with only a bruised elbow.
Testing was stopped for over an hour while debris was cleared from the track and officials tried to determine the cause of the crash.
As a precautionary measure, Michelin has withdrawn the soft compound rear tyre for the remainder of the test and enforced minimum tyre inflation pressures.
At the end of the drama filled day, Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing Ducati) held the fastest time of 2:00.095.
Petrucci set the time early in the day on soft tyres.
Despite crashing earlier, Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was able to set a 2:00.155 on hard tyres in the last thirty minutes of the session. The time put him just 0.060s behind Petrucci.
Lorenzo crashed at turn 5 when the front of his YZR-M1 lost grip. Lorenzo was uninjured and the bike wasn’t extensively damaged.
He wasn’t the only rider caught out at turn 5. Dani Pedrosa also crashed there and Pol Espargaro fell twice at the same turn. Both riders were unhurt.
Most riders improved on their times from the previous day.
Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) set the third fastest time of the day at 2:00.387. His time was also recorded on soft tyres before Loris Baz’s crash.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was able to improve his times, ending the day fourth with a 2:00.843.
Valentino Rossi achieved his goal of getting within a second of teammate Lorenzo, ending the day in sixth with a 2:01.021.
Casey Stoner attracted plenty of attention in his first official test session since 2012. The 2007 and 2011 World Champion set a credible 2:01.103 to end the day ninth fastest.
He will test again tomorrow but will stay with the GP15, preferring to leave the GP16 to the factory riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso.