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Cause???

For some reason, I find it hard to believe that there isn't any visual evidence to put together the reason for Kato's accident.

Did the front tire push, did he high side or low side... motorcycles crash when one or both of the tires lose traction at the wrong moment. If he lost the front under breaking, then he breaked too hard - do you see what I'm getting at??

Hell, if he went over the handlebars, perhaps he just performed an un-intentional stoppie.

The other thing is this: if he's going to be a vegetable - isn't it rather more humane to hope that he dies? I have never quite understood people's obsession with life - without any thought for the quality of life. My grandfather had some serious heart attacks when he was 80, and the doctors brought him back. He lived for 2 more years in mortal pain, with no freedom, basically stuck in a bed.

I'll tell ya what - my future kids will get the message loud and clear IN WRITING from me: pull the plug if I'm paralized or brain dead, thanks.
 

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The apparent lack of ability to ascertain the "cause" of the crash would appear (at least to me) to be an admission of gross rider error or perhaps even a freak medical event that subsequently caused Daijiro to lose control and ride off the track. From what I have read it is not likely for someone to crash in that way in that particular place on the track (hence the lack of video footage that is apparently hampering the investigation.)



Either way, it is an extremely unfortunate incident. One would hope of the possibility of recovery but outside of a miracle it appears unlikely in this case.
 

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Re: Cause???

Warning: 99% of the following post is pure speculation. I don't pretend to know what happened, because I wasn't there. So don't flame me for pretending to be an expert, because I'm not.

From what I've seen written about the crash, it sounds like he got tangled with another rider. If that is the case, then the FIM or whoever is looking into this may be trying to avoid a controversy. This would be especially true if the other rider didn't do it intentionally- these things happen in racing, and publicly blaming another rider for the tragic result of a common racing collision would only serve to demonize that rider. It woudn't solve anything.

Further supporting my guess (and that's all it is) is the accounts that it was a highside crash, which isn't very common in a braking section of the track, especially for a rider as skilled as Kato is. The only way I could see that Kato could highside on the brakes would be to lock the rear brake and then release it when he was fully sideways- in my mind, it would be unlikely for a GP racer to make a mistake like that. If he locked up the front, then he would have lowsided, which apparently isn't what happened. The only other way I know of to highside is to apply too much throttle, spin the rear tire so it slides out a considerable amount, then have the rear tire grab and highside the bike. Since this was a braking area, it seems unlikely that Kato would be on the throttle, so this option is ruled out. So, in my mind, that only leaves one real possibility- a collision with another rider.

And yes, I agree wholeheartedly that if I was going to be a vegetable, I would definitely want someone to pull the plug on me.
 

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The cause of the crash? He ran into a big cement wall where there shouldn't be one (and at a Honda owned track, for God's sake!) Absolutely nuts that Suzuka's still on the cards in it's present condition.



Hope you get better, Daijiro.
 

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The fact that Honda owns the damn track is easy to see with such a lame statement from them, above. Sounds a lot like a statement from the airlines after a plane dropped out of the sky and killed everyone on board. Analyzed the motorcycle? What was left of it? The Speed TV shot of Kato laying motionless on the track and what was left of the bike in thousands of pieces is burned into my memory. Was there even an air fence on that wall?

From the sobering comments from the Clinical Mobile web site,

http://www.ducati.com/clinica_mobile/news.jhtml

I too hope that he doesn't pull through. Kato suffered severe brain damage according to the doctors, and will be paralyzed from the nose down, stuck on life support for the rest of his "life" if he makes it. No thanks. God speed, Daijiro.
 

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Re: Cause???

An engine seizure can also cause a highside under braking. Remember Akira Yanagawa last year at Motegi, and he got a reasonable injury out of that one.

You also forgot changing down far too early. That can cause all sorts of strange escapades under braking. Though I doubt one of Kato san's ability would do that. Get well son.
 

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Life as a vegetable or death? I'll pray for neither. I will pray for a miracle. May Daijiro once again enjoy the laughter and companionship of his loved ones.



If Honda is somehow responsible for this (conditions at Suzuka, which they own), they better pay Daijiro's family a king's ransom, completely remake Suzuka into a truly world class venue, and rename it Daijiro Kato International Speedway.



If they don't... well... though I think for the most part the guy is a joke... I WILL JOIN FORCES WITH THE HIGHWAYMAN, GO OVER TO HONDA, AND WHOOP SOME ATROCITEURS at a game of "who's the biggest poseur." Though I hope he doesn't mind if I ride along on a Japanese 600. Seriously though, I hope Honda isn't just trying to cover it's ass.



Love and Prayers to Daijiro and family.

 

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There's no evidence he ran into anything. He was lying on the track hundreds of feet away from any walls. More likely he was the meat in an earth/motorcycle sandwich.
 

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Coverup?

In the third lap of a race the gaps between bikes aren't that big. At the end of lap two:

2 Lap

Rider Lap time Gap

65 Capirossi 2'06.006

46 Rossi 2'05.805 0.091

3 Biaggi 2'06.210 0.368

7 Checa 2'07.137 1.621

12 Bayliss 2'06.322 1.803

74 Kato 2'06.451 2.179

11 Ukawa 2'06.123 2.616

10 Roberts 2'08.119 3.326

Kato was riding with Bayliss at that point with Checa slowing ahead of him and Ukawa overtaking. At the rates shown in this snapshot Kato, Bayliss, Checa and Ukawa would have been within a tenth of a second of each other when the Kato crashed toward the end of lap 3.

I see no evidence that anyone has interviewed the three most likely witnesses. What's going ON?

The credibility of MotoGP depends on getting to the bottom of this.
 

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From all the reports I read (including the riders who were behind him), it seems as though he did not highside and then hit the wall, but rather suddenly veered left into the wall, and then he and the bike cartwheeled down the track, ending up where we saw them on TV. As you say, the concrete wall at the point of impact was 1.5 meters off the pavement and was not protected by airfence (tm) or other soft barrier. Of course, one would not ordinarily expect a rider to go off course in the early braking zone, but this just shows that sh!t happens, and there should NEVER be unprotected barriers that close to the racing surface ANYPLACE on a world class motorcycle course.



 

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Re: Coverup?

You are correct that the bikes were very close at this point, and from what I have read, the opening laps were unusually aggressive (a rider as experienced as Colin Edwards was totally blown away by how insane the riding was in these laps). Colin also mentioned the unanticipated braking points of many riders -- sometimes way late, next time way early.

My speculation, and it is only speculation, is that someone ahead of Kato (from what I read, possibly Checa) may have braked earlier than Kato expected, and that Kato's front wheel may have contacted the rear of the other bike, deflecting the wheel and causing him to steer into the wall. Normally bike-to-bike contact would not deflect the bike that far off course.

I agree that if they have not interviewed the riders in proximity to Kato, they should do so.

Bob
 

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Whaaa?

"Sounds a lot like a statement from the airlines after a plane dropped out of the sky and killed everyone on board."

That is a really, REALLY bad comparison. Motorcycle racing and flying in an airliner couldn't be more different, especially from a safety perspective. In one case, a person has made a choice to engage in an extremely dangerous sport and is solely responcible for their own safety. A person's chance of dying per unit time/distance in an airliner compared to motorcycle racing is, literally, *millions* of times smaller.

As a commercial pilot I can tell you that the ONLY comparison that can be made between the two is that they are both tragic.
 

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Re: Cause???

The guy behind him (I think it was Ukawa)said he got into a speed wobble and went off to the left because of how violent it was. I doubt very much that the 2001 250 World Champion, not to mention the guy Rossi picked to give him the hardest competition this year, would ever brake too hard and go over the handlebars.....
 

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Re: Coverup?

Bob, please post links to any mentions of the wall or contact with other riders. I've seen none. I hope MO can continue this thread in some way. Someone in Motorcycle journalism should keep the heat on until this is resolved.

The riders who saw the accident should report it without being asked. The word coverup in my original post includes them in some kind of really ugly informal conspiracy. If one or more were at fault, noone should blame them for causing the accident. They all sign on for hazard pay when they go racing.

The way it stands now, it's the fault of Kato alone. At his level of skill that is well nigh impossible to believe.

If the spotty riding was caused by inadequate practise on new bikes at a new track under untested conditions then tell the world. The idea is to get the info out and reduce the chances of repetition. It stinks of the Dale Earnhart death non-investigation.
 

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Re: Whaaa?

Yo, gooseman. I wasn't comparing the risk of racing a motorcycle to flying on a commercial airliner.

Instead, I was trying to compare the lame STATEMENT made my Honda to the LAME statements that come spewing weakly out of the spokespeople for the commercial airlines whose plane just crashed.
 

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Re: Whaaa?

Fair enough.

I really don't understand why the airlines (and other companies) make these post-crash statements before any evidence has been gathered. It certainly doesn't make the families of the victims feel any better; worse perhaps. They'd do better to say "We're sorry" and leave it at that.
 
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