The first race in the fifth round of this year’s Superbike World Championship was one to forget for Troy Corser.
On the opening lap of the first race, Troy was hit by another rider and crashed. While he was on the deck, another crashed bike struck the back of his neck and smashed his helmet down on the floor. He struggled to his feet and staggered off the track and collapsed on the grass, totally winded and out of breath. The marshals put him on a stretcher and took him to the ambulance, but after recovering his breath he got to his feet and walked back to the pits.
He was battered and bruised, but decided to take part in the restart.
On the first lap of the restart, he crashed on the approach to the Parabolica and cart-wheeled through the gravel but, amazingly, he survived without major injury, but he and the team thought that it would be better to sit out race two.
Italian Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) won the first race, much to the delight of the home fans, with team mate Noriyuki Haga second and Ryuichi Kiyonari third. American Ben Spies (Yamaha) won race two, to make up for the disappointment of running out of fuel in race one whilst contending the lead. Second was Michel Fabrizio, with Kiyonari third again.
I am happy that I survived two big crashes more or less OK, but sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. I knew nothing about what started the crash on lap one of the first race. One minute I was going into the chicane and the next minute I was flying through the air. Then, while I was on my knees, I got hit by another bike. It banged into the top of my back, near my neck and the impact was strong enough to thump my helmet on to the floor. I managed to get off the track and fell down on the grass to rest while I got my breath back, but the marshals wanted me out of the way and tried to pull me on to a stretcher. I was lucky that I hadn’t damaged my neck, because they way they handled me would’ve caused further injury for sure. After I while, I got my breath back and walked back to the pits and prepared for the restart. The team didn’t put any pressure on me at all, in fact the opposite.
But, I felt OK and decided to give it a go. This time, I almost completed a lap! I got pulled along in a four or five rider draft and found myself going into the Parabolica a bit too quick. Muggeridge was alongside or came across a bit and I had to choose between hitting him or applying more pressure to the brakes. Of course, I put more pressure on the brakes and down I went. I slid feet first, then did a couple of flips and I was really lucky not to hurt myself any more. My left arm was sore and when I got back to the pits, we made the decision not to start race two. I was a bit dazed anyway, so it was the right choice. It’s a pity because I really felt that we’d get good results today and Ruben's seventh in race one is proof of that. Now, I’ve got to recover and get fit for the next race, so wish me luck.