Ben Wylie safe after bike crash at Fishermen's Bend in Macau
British rider came off his bike at the corner where a Portuguese racer died last year
A rider being taken into an ambulance as his battered bike lay by a wall; it was a familiar, worrying sight at the Macau Grand Prix yesterday, but thankfully there was no repeat of last year's tragedy.
Briton Ben Wylie, making his Macau debut, came off at Fishermen's Bend during qualifying, the same corner where Portuguese rider Luis Filipe de Sousa Carreira died last year.
Luckily, he did not hit the wall and after being taken away from the crash site in an ambulance it was determined he did not need to go to hospital. Last year's event was criticised after the deaths of Carreira and Hong Kong touring car driver Phillip Yau Wing-choi.
"That's the problem [with motorbike racing]," said last year's winner Michael Rutter, who took provisional pole position after the first qualifying session. "You try to go as quick as you can but as safe as you can, but it can catch people out and thankfully he's okay.
"You don't like thinking, 'It's something you take for granted,' but it's just a part of racing, or any motorsport."
Rutter, who is going for his ninth Macau title, was fastest in two minutes 25.975 seconds, ahead of John McGuinness (2:27.503) and Martin Jessopp (2:27.567).
In Formula Three qualifying, last year's runner-up Felix Rosenqvist also crunched into the barriers, but recovered from a crash in practice to take provisional pole after the first qualifying session.
"In Lisboa corner I braked too late and wanted to take the escape road, but in the last moment I turned back on to the track. I picked up a lot of dirt on the tyres so the next corner I went in at normal speed and the car understeered," said the 22-year-old.
"It was stupid … I should have just gone in. [The car] was on the edge to make it for qualifying so I have to thank the mechanics."
The Swede clocked 2:12.751, ahead of last year's winner Antonio Felix da Costa (2:12.862) and Alex Sims ( 2:13.196).
There is another qualifying session today with the best overall times determining the line-up for tomorrow's Qualification Race, before Sunday's main event.
"I feel really confident when I drive, and that's what you have to be here," added Rosenqvist.
"That's how I feel, no stress, no nerves, so that's the biggest thing." The final qualification for tomorrow's motorbike race will take place today.