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Eugene Laverty Walks Away from Wild Imola Crash (with video)

Race 1 of the Imola WSB round on Saturday was halted by a red flag following a fiery crash involving Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty. As you can see in the video below, Alex Lowes’ Yamaha forces Laverty wide in a high speed corner with the impact between the two bikes resulting in the severing of Laverty’s front brake line.

Heading directly toward a wall at over 150 mph, Laverty had the sense to bail off his bike. As the bike exploded against the wall, Laverty safely slid through the gravel trap. He received only minor injuries, and raced on Sunday where he finished seventh. Here is the video:

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. Scott says:

    Not trying to minimize what happened here, but I question the notion that he was going “150 mph” at that moment. I’d like to see some telemetry, which I’m sure the team has.

    In the section preceding this turn, I’m sure they could be hitting this speed. But there’s a continuous right-hand curve before the left hander, and they scrub off speed throughout the end of it, and by the time the two bikes collided, they had already slowed quite a bit. You’ll notice that immediately after Laverty bails off, Lowes pitches his bike into, I believe, a 2nd gear turn.

    Benefit of the doubt, I’ll say Laverty could have been going about 80-90 mph when he made the jump – which is still scary, mind you (like jumping off your bike at freeway speed!) – but 150 would be exponentially more severe.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Other sites are reporting the bike’s telemetry indicated 160mph when he jumped off.

  2. Gary says:

    Hmmm, doesn’t look to me like he made the conscious effort to bail off the bike, he luckily just fell off the thing. Maybe I’m seriously missing something. Either way, glad he wasn’t hurt bad.

  3. mickey says:

    An Aprillia Pinto

  4. Pete says:

    Chuck Norris would have grabbed the severed line and blown into it to stop in time with room to spare

    • Chuck Norris says:

      I would have grabbed the tire with my bare hands.

    • Dino says:

      Chuck Norris would have just jumped off the bike, let it crash, and kept running along the track. Of course, winning the race after eventually overtaking the lead by sheer intimidation… The beard MUST win!

  5. silver says:

    So many expert here.

  6. Vrooom says:

    I’ve been headed down a steep dirt hill when I hit my rear brake and nothing, the line had gotten severed. I did not have the sense of mind to bail off the bike, being 1/100th the rider that Mr. Lowes is, and headed into a ditch using “brush brakes” (branches, small trees, rocks, etc.) to slow down before falling off the bike. I bow my head to you Mr. Lowes. That took some seriously fast consideration of the situation and making the right call.

  7. Brian says:

    So I guess this is that one-in-a-million case where “I had to lay ‘er down” was actually true…

    • Vrooom says:

      True, I never thought that could ever be justified, but here we are.

      • Scott says:

        Well, the race track is a different environment than the street. When you have gravel traps available, sometimes you’ll slow down more quickly crashing than you will on two wheels.

        I’ve done it myself (although not nearly as fast), when a near-highside sent me off the pavement, and there was an Armco barrier just off the outside of the corner. I purposely ditched the bike and tumbled up right next to the fence. If I had tried to stay on two wheels, I would have hit it head on and probably gone over it, and into a set of bleachers that were on the other side. Racers do think of these things, and Laverty probably already had a subconcious plan in his head and acted instinctively.

        But on the street, you rarely have the luxury of a gravel trap!

    • marloweluke says:

      He’s had practice. This was his third time that he had to bail from a bike with no brakes. Once before on a Superbike and also when he was in MotoGP.

      • JVB says:

        Has got to be an incredible sensation of “OH! sh*t” inside your helmet when your brake lever goes straight to the grip when traveling at 150mph and only 150ft of road remaining.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Has got to be an incredible sensation of “OH! sh*t” inside your helmet when your brake lever goes straight to the grip”

          yurp, he says in an interview on where i first saw the clip, everything at that moment SPED UP. basically because they live life at these speeds, the mind adapts and everything is normally slowed down. 150mph to them feels like 50 (fitty), well until things go pearshaped.

  8. Jodyz says:

    Guessing the fender got wedged up between the rotor and brake pad. Scary stuff.

  9. Norm G. says:

    the way the lines are routed around the OUTSIDE of the forks on race kit to make way for suspension movement leaves them vulnerable and contact severed the brake line, actually surprised this doesn’t happen more often cause you can see it dangling almost immediately. like the mandating of brake lever guards prior to this, this is a major safety issue that must be further explored. the Universe was kind enough to give us what may be our one and only WARNING.


  10. MotoMaster39 says:

    Alex Lowes is extremely lucky too. Holy crud if that Aprillia had torpedoed Lowes, God knows what could have happened.

  11. motorhead says:

    if the bike was traveling 150 mph, the rider must have been traveling close to 150 mph when he dismounted. And walks away? Astonishing. Makes me want to take a few more risks. Or not.

    • JVB says:

      I feel like anytime I fall at the track at anything faster than 5KPH, I bust something. Every time I see these guys in races slide and get right up, I say WTH!

  12. Left Foot Down says:

    Master class.

  13. Ron H says:

    Great presence of mind for sure. You can see him grab for the front brake and nothing is there. Then he quickly pulls the bike down a bit and bails. Smart.

  14. blitz11 says:

    Wow! What situational awareness and presence of mind. Glad he was unhurt (but likely very sore).

  15. Bill says:

    Damn! Losing the front fender was probably a good thing-let him know something was seriously wrong.

  16. Rod says:

    A very short amount of time to make a crucial decision. Well done.

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