Sepang first qualifying saw a whole host of riders hit the ground in the low grip conditions - including Troy Bayliss, Sete Gibernau, Marco Melandri and Carlos Checa - but it was Gauloises Yamaha's Olivier Jacque who fell the most heavily, hitting his head hard after highsiding from his M1 (pictured).

A visibly stunned Jacque walked away from his machine shaking his head, but was forced to return to hit the 'kill' switch when his bike began spewing smoke (lower pics).

"That was a disastrous session. I crashed about half way through qualifying trying a new tyre, and then had to take out my second bike," said OJ, 18th fastest today. "Then at the end of the session I was unable to get a clear run at a fast lap. Right now I feel a little bit groggy after falling on my head, and I'll be taking it easy this evening. I hope that I will be feeling better tomorrow morning."

However, what the Frenchman didn't mention was that after returning on his spare bike he nearly took out Marco Melandri and his own team-mate Alex Barros - suggesting he should have sat out the rest of the session after such a hard hit to the head... particularly following the FIMs apparent clampdown on 'dangerous riding' at Moetgi.

"I was following Melandri and Barros when Olivier Jacque passed me going like hell down the back straight. Then he couldn't stop, and he almost hit Melandri and Barros," said witness Nobuatsu Aoki.

"I nearly fell off on the last corner as Jacque came very close, which was quite scary," confirmed Melandri.

Jacque's team-mate Barros finished the session 12th fastest. The Brazilian didn't comment on the near miss.



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