Motorcycling: Practice fall may prevent Pedrosa pursuing Hayden in Malaysia

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The Independent Online

Spain's Dani Pedrosa may have to withdraw from the MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix after a fall in second free practice yesterday.

The Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa, 25 points behind his American team-mate Nicky Hayden in the title race, had just set the fastest time here before taking a tumble on turn 15.

He was able to walk away unaided but the medical report said he suffered "an open wound of the right knee and contusion of the big toe of the left foot". He will undergo a medical check this morning to determine if he is able to race.

Italy's Loris Capirossi made the most of Pedrosa's exit and stayed on track for back-to-back MotoGP wins with a best time of 2min 1.711sec on his Ducati.

Pedrosa's time of 2:02.021 stood as second fastest, ahead of America's Kenny Roberts Jnr with 2:02.563 on his Honda. Haydenwas not at full throttle on his Honda and finished 10th with a time of 2:03.199.

Hayden leads the season with 201 points, 38 points ahead of defending world champion Valentino Rossi, who was sixth fastest at 2:02.970 on his Yamaha.

Hayden finished a disappointing ninth at last month's Czech Grand Prix in Brno, which Capirossi dominated for his second victory of the season, but is confident of a better display at Sepang. "We've got to bounce back after the bad luck at Brno," he said. "Sepang is a track we know well from testing and I like it. In fact, there are a few tracks coming up that I like. I'll pretty well approach these races like I have all year. I'll try to be smart and consistent and fight for the best result each weekend."

Sepang opens a sequence of three "flyaway" races in as many weekends in Malaysia, Australia and Japan that could result in the championship race being turned on its head before the circuit heads back to Portugal and Spain next month.

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