(Sunday, December 02, 2007)
Yamaha’s resurgence as a Superbike power wavered slightly Sunday afternoon when their factory Superbike rider, Jason DiSalvo, suffered a huge, red-flag waving crash, one which stopped all action at the Speedway until the scene could be cleaned up.
The ’08 Yamaha Italia-based machine DiSalvo crashed was the same one in which Eric Bostrom had cut fast times on Saturday and the only one of its kind that Yamaha had here in the US.
DiSalvo crashed at high speed when he dropped back wheel off the pavement entering the banking and spun out on the grass. The bike went from accelerating forward to cocked sideways in the grass in an instant, sending both rider and machine flying. Yamaha sources said that the R1 Superbike flew 50 feet and landed near where DiSalvo also came down.
DiSalvo told the team that he saw the bike flip three times in the air, hit the ground and exploded. It landed upside down and the fuel tank emptied on impact. DiSalvo stayed conscious and was able to scramble away from the impact zone, flames licking the inside of his helmet. When Honda rider Neil Hodgson stopped on the scene moments after the impact, he asked DiSalvo if he was okay, and DiSalvo reputedly replied that “that lap could have been a 1:36.”
DiSalvo suffered a gnarly elbow injury in the crash and was transported to the hospital via ambulance. (The good news is there were no serious injuries to Jason and DiSalvo is flying back home later on Monday.)
As the machine burned nearly to the ground, a large plume of smoke rose over the track. One easily seen from the local Daytona airport. Ben and Eric Bostrom were trying to catch a late afternoon flight to Atlanta when they were alerted to the smoke rising above the Speedway in the distance.
Eric Bostrom called the team and asked what was burning, only to be told that it was “your bike”.