The Pramac Racing Team was the victim of extraordinary bad luck at Qatar on Sunday, when riders Randy de Puniet and Loris Capirossi tangled on the first lap of the first MotoGP race of the year.

Rather than a clumsy collision, de Puniet had made a clean pass on his team-mate, but then suffered a highside as he applied the power.

As the Frenchman crashed, his bouncing bike then clipped Capirossi's hand, forcing the Italian to retire with what he feared might have been broken bones.

"I'm sorry for the fall and to have the misfortune to hit my team-mate," said de Puniet. "The rear tyre was probably still cold on the left side and as soon as I opened the throttle the bike raised in the air and all of a sudden I found my nose on the ground."

Capirossi, also making his first race start for the Pramac team, didn't blame de Puniet.

"Disappointed, but in racing these things can happen," said the Italian. "I am very sorry it had to happen with my new team-mate, who was not at fault however. Again, anything can happen in racing. The only positive aspect is that the hand is not broken, I felt a lot of pain and I had some concerns, but we will be in Jerez!"

"I think this is the first time that such a thing happens to me: both riders out of the race after a few turns following a clash between them," admitted technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini. "These things happen and there's not much to say about it."

LCR Honda's Toni Elias was the only other rider not to finish.

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