Nicky Hayden and Yuki Takahashi both expressed extreme disappointment after being eliminated on the opening lap of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
Rookie Takahashi ploughed into the back of Hayden under braking for the hairpin, leaving both riders down and out. Hayden, who injured his back at Qatar, was slow to get up, while home rider Takahashi walked away with his head in his hands.
“Out at the very beginning of the race... what a pity,” said Scot Honda rider Takahashi. “Not only for the race itself, but especially because I need making laps to learn and improve. The crash occurred at the turn number five. I was in a group of riders, more or less all of us at the same speed, then the collision under braking. I'm really sorry.”
“That was exactly what we didn't need,” said Hayden. “I got a decent start and I think I was up a couple of positions but just going down into the hairpin, which is a slow hard-braking corner, I was on my line and Takahashi just took me down. There was no warning - I didn't even hear anything!
“I don't want to say much about that, I don't want to look like a cry-baby but, you know, it was the first lap… luckily I feel okay. I actually landed in the same place on my back as the crash in Qatar and my leathers and helmet have got exactly the same marks.
“It's a shame because this weekend I honestly felt we were making some progress. I felt we had better communication going on and we worked more comfortably from the first day. I know we were never looking at a great result but I felt I could have been competitive today. Anyway, we have to move forward and to look to the next race,” added the Ducati Marlboro rider.
“There are no words to describe how unlucky Nicky has been here... Unfortunately these things happen in racing and the most important thing is that he wasn't injured,” stated team manager Livio Suppo.
Team-mate Casey Stoner, winner in Qatar, finished fourth.