MotoGP rookie Niccolo Canepa
literally didn't know what hit him during a spectacular accident at the end of Saturday's wet qualifying session at the Sachsenring.
The Pramac Ducati rider was struck by factory Ducati star Nicky Hayden
after the American was launched from his Desmosedici by a huge highside.
Hayden had been sent flying horizontally through the air and straight into Canepa's upper body, bringing the Italian down before bikes and machines tumbled through the gravel.
Hayden, who was unhurt, immediately ran over to Canepa to apologise. Canepa was then carried from the track on a stretcher but will be fit to start the race and insists Hayden should not feel guilty about the incident.
"What a hit!” said Niccolo. “I didn't understand what happened until I saw the reply while I was in the Clinica Mobile. When I was on the ground after the accident I heard Hayden saying to me 'Sorry, sorry, sorry', but I didn't understand why.
“He doesn't have to worry because this sort of thing can happen and the most important thing is that both of us are ok and ready to race tomorrow,” declared Canepa, who will start 15th on the grid.
“I suffered a hard contusion to my back, head and ankle, but nothing is broken. I felt a lot of heat in my lower back but everything seems back to normal now. I want to thank the Clinica Mobile doctors who have helped me to relax and will do all possible to put me back in top form for tomorrow's race,” he concluded.
Six other riders also crashed at the same downhill left-hand turn eight.
Canepa's team-mate Mika Kallio, returning to action after a finger injury, qualified tenth.
"A very intense day,” said the Finn. “This morning we have done really well with a dry surface keeping really close to the first positions. Then, in the afternoon with a really wet surface, we stayed in the top ten and conquered the fourth row. Whatever weather there will be tomorrow we can be near the fastest. I am sorry for Niccolò because he was having a good qualifying session and I hope he will be ok for tomorrow's race."