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Motorcycling: Bayliss gets back on his bike to lead way on day of carnage

The World Superbikes championship leader Troy Bayliss recovered from a freak bicycle accident to take provisional pole position at Assen yesterday. The 39-year-old escaped with cuts and bruises from a crash in Monte Carlo on Wednesday when his push-bike hit a manhole cover.

After a precautionary medical he continued his dominance aboard his Xerox Ducati. The veteran topped the times in a session littered with high-speed crashes with a best time of 1min 39.677sec, with Yamaha Italia rider Noriyuki Haga second in 1:40.009. Yukio Kagayama was third fastest on his Alstare Suzuki, with Guandalini Ducati rider Jakub Smrtz fourth.

Haga, Lorenzo Lanzi and Regis Laconi all crashed to bring out the red flags before the Dutch wildcard rider Arie Vos split his Ducati in half and covered the track with debris in a huge accident. After the restart, Smrtz crashed his Ducati and Lanzi high-sided on dropped oil and was taken to the medical centre clutching his wrist. The field will have another qualifying session followed by Superpole for tomorrow's races.

In the supporting World Supersport series, British pair Jonathan Rea and Craig Jones were third and fourth fastest respectively. Australian Broc Parkes was fastest on his Yamaha but Jones – who is currently fifth on the standings – believes he could fight for the win tomorrow. He said: "We had two good sessions and I've got a good feel for the bike. We have made some gearing changes that have given us some useful data and I am riding comfortably while not having to bite the screen to get a lap time, which is good."