The British Grand Prix was another weekend to forget for the Tech 3 Yamaha team, with Marco Melandri not starting after breaking his thumb on Friday, while Norick Abe's race was brought to a brutal conclusion when he suffered a huge highside - his second big accident in a week.

Melandri, who had qualified eleventh despite the injury, opted to sit out the race after injuring his right thumb in a collision with Kawasaki's Alex Hofmann in Friday free practice.

"Having struggled through practice, I have decided not to race," stated Marco (lower pic) on Sunday morning. "I am really disappointed because the bike is really good here and I think I could have ridden a good race. I only live a few miles from this circuit and this is like my second home Grand Prix.

"With my injuries at best in the dry I might have been able to finish 11th or 12th, but with a big risk of hurting myself further," he continued. "A wet race might have been less painful, but with an even higher risk of falling. I also have to think of my fellow riders. It is one thing for me to take risks, but quite another to put everybody else on the grid in danger. Now I'll take some rest and hopefully come back to Brno fully fit."

Meanwhile, Abe - who cracked two ribs when he was collected by Melandri's bike at the Sachsenring - rode a storming race; rising from seventeenth to eighth with just two laps to go... at which point he lost control of his M1 at the super fast Craner Curves, while hounding Loris Capirossi.

The Japanese was thrown high in the air before slamming down hard on the Donington asphalt and tumbling to a halt.

Unsurprisingly, Abe wasn't available for comment afterwards, having aggravated his rib injuries and been left with dizziness. Fortunately, the medical staff report no serious injuries, although he will nevertheless undergo some precautionary tests.

"Norick didn't deserve that. His ribs are hurting and he hit his head pretty hard, but he seems okay," said team owner Herve Poncharal. "We're all so sorry for him.
"It's a pity to have a weekend like this. Norick was riding so well he almost made us forget about the issue with Marco," continued the Frenchman.

"He went from 17th on the grid to eighth and almost beyond. His lap times at the end of the race were the same as the riders fighting for fifth place," Poncharal revealed. "Another weekend to forget. But we all get a break now and both riders deserve that more than anyone."