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81 crashes during two days of practice at Le Mans | MotoGP | Sport

Was this a new dry-weather record? There were an impressive 81 crashes during two days of practice at Le Mans, with the explanation difficult to find. The Bugatti circuit was in excellent condition, fully resurfaced last year, and the sun shone throughout.

Only a cool wind could be put forward, with the suggestion that the tyres were having trouble getting up to temperature, and then cooling down unexpectedly quickly.

Nor could the headstrong youth of Moto3 be blamed. The lowest number of crashes was in the smallest class, with 19 recorded. MotoGP clocked up 23, with Moto2 taking the lion’s share on 39.

The worst victim was Cal Crutchlow, with a soaring high-side at the corner before the back straight in qualifying. He did not lose consciousness, but was stretchered off, and taken to hospital for observation.

Other high-profile fallers were Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi. Bradley Smith was lucky to escape unhurt from a big high-side on day one; and Aleix Espargaro from a very fast slide-off at well over 240 km/h at Turn One during qualifying. In Moto2, Stefano Manzi fell four times, including twice in the qualifying session, and every time at the same place, Museum corner.

Aside from the problem of the cool breeze, Marc Marquez had another theory. “Here you have a lot of grip, then when the tyre starts to slide, it slides very aggressively,” he said.

By Michael Scott