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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Walking wounded in Assen
Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

Marco Melandri lies injured at the Catalunya MotoGP
Riders can forget about the repercussions of riding a bike at those speeds
Steve Parrish

It's a case of the walking wounded here in Assen after the carnage at Catalunya last week.

The first-corner crash which injured so many of those at the front of the grid really brings home to the riders how dangerous MotoGP can be.

Because circuits are so safe these days riders can get complacent when there is a spell without a big crash and they can forget about the repercussions of riding a bike at those speeds.

Sete Gibernau, whose bike it was that went across the riders to cause the crash, is in a bad way but hopefully he won't be ruled out for too long.

Championship contender Loris Capirossi was also injured and he was very slow around the course here during practice so question marks have to be asked about what performance he will put in this weekend.

And in an unrelated incident, Valentino Rossi tumbled out of practice as well on Thursday and knocked himself about pretty badly.

But speaking from experience crashes like this shouldn't affect the riders mentally.

They will be thinking, 'the crash wasn't my fault' and it is very much a case of getting back on the horse and getting on with things.

Assen MotoGP
Race: Sat, BBC Two, 1250
BBC Interactive:
Sat, MotoGP Extra, 1400

They are all so professional they will just be thinking about the championship points they could miss out on rather than their injuries.

Rossi eventually won the race in Catalunya with another superb performance but it doesn't look like he has much of a chance here now.

So it should be a very open race on Saturday.

The most impressive rider out here so far has been Colin Edwards and at times it seemed as if he and Nicky Hayden were the only fit riders.

I'm interested to see whether Edwards can finally turn his excellent testing and practice times into a consistent display in a race situation while Hayden will be hoping to take advantage of the injuries to further his grip on the title chase.

I also fancy Casey Stoner to do well although he did make a silly mistake in Catalunya that can simply be put down to youth.

He will learn though as it is only his rookie season and the old racing adage, 'the winner always comes from the finishers' should be heeded.

The track at Assen has been heavily modified this season and shortened by about a kilometre.

They've taken a chunk out of it and none of the riders seem to like it.

It seems to have lost a bit of the old Assen magic but we will see.

Predictions: 1. Hayden 2. Stoner 3. Pedrosa

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22 Jun 06 |  Motorbikes
James Ellison's MotoGP column
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Melandri to wait on Assen fitness
21 Jun 06 |  Motorbikes
Injured Gibernau to miss Dutch GP
20 Jun 06 |  Motorbikes
Rossi wins crash-hit Catalunya GP
18 Jun 06 |  Motorbikes
BBC pundits on MotoGP '06
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MotoGP coverage on the BBC
15 Mar 06 |  Motorbikes
Contact the motorbikes TV team
14 Mar 06 |  Motorbikes

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