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Protagonists of the first corner melee in Welkom explain their versions of events

Protagonists of the first corner melee in Welkom explain their versions of events

Protagonists of the first corner melee in Welkom explain their versions of events

When the Arnette Africa´s MotoGP race finally got underway after a 50 minute delay spent cleaning the track when Kenny Roberts´ Suzuki had leaked oil, there was to be more drama when Shinya Nakano stalled his Yamaha and Colin Edwards collided with John Hopkins causing Jeremy McWilliams and Nori Haga to crash. Here are the words of the riders involved, thankfully all were unhurt:

Shinya Nakano: ´I think I made a mistake by releasing the clutch too quick. Somehow I managed to get the bike going on my own but I was completely last into the first turn. I saw the crash in front of me and was lucky not to get involved in it. I passed a few riders but to be honest it wasn´t so easy because this is a difficult track to pass on.´

Colin Edwards: ´I started in a particular zone of the track where it was dirty and the bike began to move. When I was trying to stand up someone else hit me and immediately I had a nightmare. I saw many riders around me and one wheel hit my head. Luckily I feel fine. In a few seconds my rage turned to relief.´$$$John Hopkins: ´At the start when Colin Edwards got sideways I was the first one he hit. My clutch lever came back and smashed hell out of my fingers. My hand was pretty sore for the whole race.´

Jeremy McWilliams: ´Everyone was shoved to the left because Nakano was slow off the line, then Edwards came across. I saw him hit another bike and he fell right in front of me. It´s a nightmare when that happens. No matter how hard you brake, you can´t slow down faster than a rider sliding along the track. It was all I could do to get off the circuit and I thought I´d still run over his arm. Luckily I didn´t. It´s so disappointing.´

Noriyuki Haga: ´I fell off to avoid my team-mate who was lying in the ground. I did all my best to get going again but I was didn´t feel OK. The bike was also damaged and that´s why I decided to enter the box.´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, Arnette Africa's Grand Prix

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