Lucky escape for Laverty after 140mph crash
Toomebridge MotoGP star Eugene Laverty had a major scare during yesterday's test at Sepang in Malaysia after being forced to abandon ship on the Aspar Desmosedici Ducati when his throttle stuck open at 140mph.
Early reports suggested that Laverty had sustained broken bones in his right hand, which would have been terrible news having just come back from a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder after a similar incident at Jerez last November.
Thankfully an X-ray, later conducted at a local Malaysian hospital, showed that it was ligament damage, which could possibly see him back in action today.
Speaking trackside, the Monaco-based Ulsterman said: "We've been for the X-ray and thankfully there is no fracture, just some tissue and ligament damage, which is a relief. It's just unbelievable that after spending the last couple of months recovering from a broken wrist we have this on the first day of the first test."
Recounting the incident, he added: "It seems we had a mechanical problem and I had to jump off the bike under braking into turn four.
"It was a scary moment but quite lucky really because it could have been much worse. The bike went straight into the tyre wall at well over 100km/h so that wasn't nice to see - I never like to see a bike destroyed."
The throttle problem was the second in a disastrous opening day back on a bike in 2016, to which he explained: "Overall it wasn't a great day because we spent the morning with some electronic problems, the throttle stuck open and I was lucky not to crash on that occasion too.
"It meant the guys had to check things over and we lost some track time.
"Now I have to wait and see how the hand is tomorrow.
"Obviously I want to get back out there as soon as possible but we'll have to wait and see when that is."
Laverty, 28, wasn't the only one with problems as Italian legend Valentino Rossi is already threatening to bin Yamaha's 2016 YZR-M1 model, stating that it simply doesn't work with the all-new Michelin tyres.
Meanwhile, Dani Pedrosa admits that Honda have numerous issues to address with the engine and chassis of their 2016 MotoGP bike.
The Spaniard was best of the Honda contingent in Malaysia, outpacing Repsol team-mate Marc Marquez by half a second to go third fastest.
However, this still left Pedrosa 1.096s off the pace set by Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, with Valentino Rossi making it a one-two for Honda's main rival.
"We have chassis and engine problem to fix with the new electronics," Pedrosa said after the test. "Jorge was very fast today and we need to improve."
Asked to identify the new RC213V's weaknesses, he said: "Braking entry and exit, we have to make the bike work better, and we have some issues (coming) out of the corner, a lot of pumping.
"Sometimes it's unstable in the turn, or the corner speed is not the best, so we need to find the best balance."