Dani Pedrosa's nasty crash on just his third lap of practice at Motegi on Friday is looking ever more likely to have cost the Repsol Honda rider his last chance of wresting the 2010 MotoGP championship from Jorge Lorenzo. Pedrosa fractured his left collarbone in three places in the incident (more details in our earlier story), and examination at the medical center revealed that the problem will require surgery to correct, if Pedrosa is to return to racing as soon as possible.
The question mark for Pedrosa is how many races he would be forced to miss because of the injury. Part of that equation depended on whether Pedrosa was operated on in Japan, or returned to Spain to undergo surgery at MotoGP's hospital-of-choice, the Dexeus Institute in Barcelona. It now appears that Pedrosa has elected to return to Barcelona for the operation, which means that effectively, the Spaniard will be forced to miss the Malaysian GP at Sepang as well as this Sunday's Japanese round of MotoGP at Motegi. MotoGP's Medical Director Dr Michele Macchiagodena told the official MotoGP.com website that they expected to see Pedrosa return to racing at Phillip Island at the earliest, and a Honda spokesperson confirmed that Pedrosa was extremely unlikely to be racing in Malaysia.
With Pedrosa out for the next two rounds, Jorge Lorenzo is now almost certain of the 2010 MotoGP title. With a lead of 56 points in the championship, Lorenzo requires just 19 more points to secure the title, which should be a relatively simple task with just 16 bikes on the starting grid. A 2nd place finish at Motegi and confirmation that Pedrosa is to miss Sepang would be sufficient, or otherwise two finishes in the top 6 at both Motegi and Sepang.