Valentino Rossi‘s own opening day at Le Mans may have passed without incident, but he had barely removed his helmet after MotoGP FP2 when brother Luca Marini was sent flying through the air by a massive highside in the Moto2 session.
Rossi went to the medical centre to await Marini’s arrival by ambulance where checks confirmed the Moto2 title leader was largely unhurt barring a possible injury to his left ankle.
“I spoke with Luca. He’s okay. I was scared because it was a very bad crash, but fortunately the dynamic is not so bad. So he’s generally good and this is very important,” Rossi said.
“Maybe he has a small fracture to the left malleolus. It’s a problem because you have three races in a row and the left foot is for the gearbox. Now he is at the hospital to check more deeply.”
Luckily for Marini, scans at Le Mans hospital later confirmed no fractures, although his left foot remains painful.
“In FP2 I did a violent highside,” said Marini, rumoured to be moving closer to a MotoGP deal that would see him join Enea Bastianini, the rider he currently leads by 20 points, on the Desmosedici GP19s currently run by the Avintia team.
“My ankle is painful but there are no fractures. It won’t be easy to get back on track tomorrow, but I will give my best.”
BIG crash for @Luca_Marini_97 in FP2
— MotoGP (@MotoGP) October 9, 2020
Meanwhile, after losing his best lap time due to a yellow flag, Rossi finished the opening day – a fully wet morning session, then damp afternoon – in 12th place.
“Today the conditions were very dangerous. Very much at the limit, because it’s not just wet but also very cold and this afternoon with the slick tyres, with this temperature that is less than 20 degrees on the ground, it was very difficult and very dangerous. Also because of wet patches,” said the Monster Yamaha rider.
“But I was not so bad. I feel good with the bike, this morning and this afternoon my pace is quite good. Unfortunately, they cancelled my best lap because I took one yellow flag. If not I would have been in P5. Now we hope that tomorrow, and especially Sunday, will be dry and a little warmer and then we‘ll see our potential.”
WRC in December?
Looking further ahead, Rossi was asked if he might consider a return to the Monza Rally Show in December, if the rumours are true that it will become the final round of the World Rally Championship.
“Yes I know about Monza. A lot of people already called me but the plan for me is not to race in Monza, because I want to race [a sportscar] in Abu Dhabi like last year,” Rossi said.
“But for sure the situation has changed, because making the last race of the world championship is a lot more interesting. We will see…”