Practice and qualifying for the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca saw more than its fair share of accidents, and that pattern continued in the race itself, when four of the 17 riders crashed out.
On lap 4 of 32 rookie Gabor Talmacsi lost control of his Scot Honda while holding 15th position.
"I had a very good feeling with the bike, and a good start. Then suddenly, when I was 15th, I lost the front. I cannot say why,” shrugged the Hungarian. “I'm fine, but it is really a pity because I was in a condition to get a good result. I stay confident for the next race."
It was Talmacsi's first race crash and only his third MotoGP race, but the most experienced rider on the grid, Loris Capirossi, was caught out on the same lap.
"I am really upset about today,” said Loris, who was eighth at the time of his fall. “I started quite well and was really aggressive in the first couple of laps, but in turn six I lost the front and then on the next lap I did the same in the same place, but this time I crashed. I am really sorry for the whole team because they have worked so hard this week. The truth is this has been a terrible weekend for me as we never really found a good solution."
Fellow veteran Sete Gibernau
hit the gravel just three laps later, while holding twelfth position, while the highest ranked rider to fall was Andrea Dovizioso.
The Repsol Honda rider, who crashed out of fourth at the previous Dutch TT, suffered another lowside exit from that same position on lap seven of Sunday's race. The Italian had earlier clipped a trackside pole, bending his clutch lever.
“We were in good shape, I'd got into a fast rhythm and I'm sure we could have had good result today, so I'm very disappointed,” said Dovi, whose team-mate Dani Pedrosa
won the race. “Unfortunately I made a mistake and I have spoiled this opportunity.
“During the first laps, I was behind Valentino, I wanted to overtake him and I was very close at the end of the straight. It's a blind point and I was so close that I didn't see the plastic poles that separate the track from the pit lane. I hit a few of them and in the impact the clutch lever bent, and from that moment on I couldn't control the engine braking.
“It was my mistake as my line was too far to the left but after that it was tough to ride and change gear properly. Nevertheless, I tried to stay up with the leaders. Then I lost the front and crashed after having had a couple of warnings. I'm really disappointed because we are getting closer to front-running pace at every race and here we could have done well,” he stated.
The fifth rider not to finish, Monster Yamaha Tech 3's James Toseland, was excluded for failing to serve a jump-start penalty, meaning only twelve riders were classified.