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Racer feared long road to fitness after dramatic fall

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: July 05, 2012

  • TEAM SUPPORT: Martin Jessopp discusses the set-up of his Rapid Riders Performance Technical Honda with technician and friend from Yeovil Lee Fleming at Aragon. The racer suffered heavy bruising in a crash at the Spanish circuit on Sunday.

  • BRIEF OUTING: Martin Jessopp tackles the Aragon circuit.

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WORLD Supersport ace Martin Jessopp feared the worst as he lay in pain by the track following a dramatic crash in Spain last weekend.

The Rapid Riders Performance Technical Racing rookie suffered a huge high-side during practice on Saturday, being flung from his Honda as he tried to bring a rear tyre up to temperature at Aragon.

As pain surged through his back and legs before eventually subsiding to the base of his spine and right foot, Jessopp of Yeovil Marsh gave up hopes of racing in the series' upcoming rounds, conceding he must have broken something.

However, examinations showed bruising to his foot and coccyx, with Jessopp even trying to negotiate the lengthy European circuit the next day. Whereas he was not fit enough to race, Jessopp vowed to be part of the field at Brno, Czech Republic, at the end of the month.

Jessopp said: "After I stopped I was just lying there, I could not move. There was so much pain coming from my back and straight down my legs because everything got hit so hard.

"I moved over to my side as the pain was so bad and after about five minutes of lying on the ground I could feel the pain in my back getting worse in my foot.

"Medics took off my helmet, put me on the stretcher and took me to hospital. Then I realised it was just my coccyx and foot but with the pain coming from my foot I had already accepted something was broken and was more worried about my coccyx.

"I had it set in my head that I was out for a couple of rounds but when the medics came back and said nothing was broken I was so happy. The next thing then my concentration turned to being able to race the next day.

"You always try to think of the positive side and if you cannot race, you cannot race. There is no point getting too upset about it, I have been in a lot worse situations.

"I have missed most of the season with a broken leg so to miss one race I would not have worried too much. I am not in a position in the championship where I am fighting for top places. It was pretty gutting to miss the race but to know I would be 90 per cent fit for the next round was relieving.

"I pleaded with the organisers to let me ride and warm-up on Sunday morning. I tried and was just pleased to get out and do that. My team manager Simon could not believe I was even going to try that but once I got out there, there was no doubt I would not be able to race.

"I was getting into corners but could not get off the bike and I could not tuck in on the straights."

Bogdanka PTR's Sam Lowes won Sunday's race to move second in the championship standings. Jessopp explained only he was to blame for his crash and accepted they happened to every racer.

"I came in for a new rear tyre in the second practice on Saturday morning and then went back out for the out lap," he said. "It is a really long track so you can really scrub the tyre and really go for it on your first lap but I do not think I scrubbed it quite enough.

"With the new tyres they are really shiny and they take some bedding in. With our tyres we can bed them in over one lap or three miles, really bending over on them in every corner while being steady and not too heavy on the throttle. That tyre becomes used and is then at its grippiest.

"Towards the end of the lap you come down a really long straight into a tight hairpin and as you come out of that you have really got to start building up your speed as you come into the last two corners before the start straight.

"It is really important to get good drive out of there so it gives you good speed over the line. I came out of the hairpin, moved to the right and started to get on the power hard to get as fast as I could. The next thing I knew I was literally flying through the air. You call it a cold tyre crash, but the tyre is not cold, it was just still shiny and not bedded in.

"There is nobody to blame but me and they are so rare I cannot remember the last one I had. But they do happen to everyone and they happen a lot more in MotoGP with the Bridgestone tyres which are a lot harder to get up to temperature than the Pirellis.

"With our traction control it turns off when it is working at 100 per cent as generally at 90 per cent of corners when you are on full gas you are out of the danger areas for high-sides.

"It was so big I do not think any traction control would have saved me from that crash last weekend."

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