Pedrosa To Undergo Surgery On Wednesday

The injury Dani Pedrosa suffered at Qatar is worse than at first thought. Early reports said that Pedrosa had come away from the accident with only bruising and swelling, but Pedrosa has not been so lucky. For according to the Spanish magazine Motociclismo, Pedrosa has suffered a distal radius fracture, an injury which will require the fitting of a titanium screw to compress the fracture. He is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday afternoon.

The good news, in a glass-one-sixteenth-full kind of way, is that Pedrosa only suffered a severely bruised and cut left knee. He is to have a skin graft on the knee at the same time as his wrist. Pedrosa suffered the injuries after his bike landed on him after highsiding him off in Turn 10 at Qatar.

Honda previously issued a press release stating they expected Pedrosa to be riding at the official Irta test in Jerez at the end of March, but it is doubtful that Pedrosa will be at full fitness by then. A distal radius fracture is not as difficult an injury as a scaphoid, but it can get very complicated due to the amount of soft tissue that is involved in the structure of the wrist. The Dexeus institute, where Pedrosa is to undergo surgery, will be issuing an update on his condition tomorrow.

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Monster Energy Confirmed As Title Sponsor For Tech 3 Yamaha

After Kawasaki pulled out, much speculation ensued as to what would happen about their Monster Energy title sponsorship. Almost immediately after Kawasaki's withdrawal was announced, rumors appeared linking Monster to Yamaha. First came the rumor of a deal with Valentino Rossi, but along with it came talk of a deal for the Tech 3 Yamaha team.

It turns out this was no idle speculation after all. After the personal deal for Rossi, Tech 3 today announced that Monster Energy would be their title sponsor for at least the next two years. The Monster claw logo will appear both on Rossi's helmet and cap, and on the side of the Tech 3 Yamahas.

This finally is good news for MotoGP. The problem for the series is, after all, not so much that costs are too high - they are a mere 10-20% of the vast sums involved in Formula 1, while the series receives close to the same media exposure - but that incomes are dramatically too low. A big sponsor like Monster can provide a much-needed cash injection for Herve Poncharal's cash-strapped team, as well as attracting more outside sponsors into the sport.

The worry is that Monster, like Rizla with Suzuki, and like their deal with Kawasaki, got the exposure at a bargain basement price. No details were released about the amounts involved, but if teams sell title sponsorship cheap - as was the case with Rizla and Suzuki - then they make it impossible for the rest of the teams to raise the cash that MotoGP so desparately needs.

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2009 Qatar Night Test Day 2 - Stoner Is Back

Testing resumed under rather better conditions at Qatar today, yesterday's rain fortunately not making a reappearance. And so all of the riders took to the track, with no reason to sit it out. One rider came to regret that decision, Dani Pedrosa suffering a big highside, and fracturing his wrist and leg (full story here), a bitter irony after the Spaniard chose to sit out yesterday's session for fear of aggravating his already injured knee.

Fastest of the day was - how could it be otherwise? - Casey Stoner. The Australian put in relatively few laps, but according to Livio Suppo, his wrist was holding up better than it had been previously, the surgery on his injured scaphoid slowly starting to heal. Stoner was testing a carbon fiber swingarm to go along with the carbon fiber frame, and from the times he set, it would appear to be working.

Valentino Rossi was second fastest, though still 6/10ths behind Stoner, a big gap. But his arrears to Stoner had not left him without a sense of humor: Rossi appeared at the track with a comedy high-visibility yellow helmet, in the colors used by the emergency services in a number of countries.

Colin Edwards was third fastest, the Tech 3 Yamaha man clearly settling in with his new crew chief, while Andrea Dovizioso was left to salvage Repsol Honda's honor, taking the 4th fastest time in the dying minutes of the session, ahead of the Suzukis of Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi.

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Pedrosa Fractures Wrist At Qatar Test

Dani Pedrosa's 2009 season is getting off to a nightmare start. After sitting out the first day of testing at Qatar, judging that the rain had made the track too slippery to risk crashing and damaging his slowly healing knee, the Spaniard suffered a big highside on the second day of testing.

Pedrosa crashed at Turn 10, a left hander which opens up quickly to become a fast turn, badly injuring both his left knee and his left wrist. He was rushed back to the Clinica Mobile, where he was examined and found not to have broken anything, but he did sustain a suspected fracture of the left wrist, the same wrist Pedrosa injured in his spectacularly painful crash at the Sachsenring last July. The medical director at the circuit told the press that although Pedrosa had injured his wrist and leg, he had not suffered a bang to the head and had not lost consciousness. His injuries were severe enough for the Spaniard to require an oxygen mask to help calm his breathing.

Pedrosa will be flown back to Barcelona on Tuesday morning, where he will undergo a CAT scan to determine the full extent of his injuries. There is a good chance that Pedrosa will be fit enough to take part in the official IRTA test at Jerez at the end of the month, but whether he will be at full fitness then is subject to doubt.

The session was red flagged because of Pedrosa's crash, and then red flagged again shortly after, after a crash by Mika Kallio left some oil on the track. 

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2009 Qatar Night Test - Rain In The Desert

The night test at Qatar got off to a frankly bizarre start on Sunday night. The test, which was due to run from 6pm to midnight local time, got off to a difficult start, after rain in the morning left the track greasy, and then rain at around 7pm called proceedings to a halt for a while, with riders sitting in the pits for an hour or so, before going out again. But it wasn't just rain that was causing the problems: Sand had been blowing onto the track and both reducing grip while paradoxically increasing tire wear, making the whole exercise of rather dubious value.

That was certainly the opinion of a number of riders: Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa decided to sit out the evening, not wanting to risk further injury to their recovering wrist and knee respectively. Loris Capirossi did not even bother to start, while Valentino Rossi came straight in after an out lap. Jorge Lorenzo recording a single lap before coming back in again.

The two riders who recorded the most laps were the two riders who need the work the most: Nicky Hayden is still battling to come to terms with the Ducati, and find a solution to the rear wheel pump that everyone except Casey Stoner seems to struggle with. Stoner suffers it just as much as all the other Ducati riders, he just seems to cope with it better, perhaps by ignoring it completely.

Marco Melandri is still to sign his contract to ride the "Hayate", or The-Bike-Formerly-Know-As-The-2009-Kawasaki. But he put in a fair stint of testing, to try and get a feel for what the bike is like. According to GPOne.com, Melandri said that TBFKAT2K is better than the 2008 Kawasaki, which must come as a relief. The team is to be run by technical guru Ichiro Yoda, with former team boss Michael Bartholemy having been pushed aside.

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2009 World Superbikes Round Phillip Island Report - Glorious Arrival

The opening round of the World Superbike championship had a lot to live up to. Billed as the most open championship for many years, the series once again looked completely unpredictable, and capable of producing close, exciting racing. And after a long, dark winter, the fans would not be disappointed, in either the World Superbike or World Supersport classes.

In World Superbikes, all eyes were on Ben Spies. Still an unknown quantity with no points of reference between his native AMA championship, where the Texan is coming off three consecutive titles, and the current World Superbike field, one of the biggest questions in the paddock was just how good Spies would be once the flag dropped. Taking pole position in the new Superpole format had proven that Spies was fast, at least over a limited number of laps and with a clear track, but WSBK fans were yet to be convinced of Spies' ability to stand his ground amidst the hurly burly of an average World Superbike race. Taking on a single rider, even one of the caliber of Mat Mladin, is one thing; taking on the charging horde of Haga, Biaggi, Neukirchner, Checa, Rea, Corser, Fabrizio et al is quite another.

World Superbikes Race 1

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Francis Batta: "The Aprilia Is Illegal In WSBK"

The World Superbike season has barely started, and already the controversy has started. The first blow was landed before the first race had even started: Alstare Suzuki team boss Francis Batta complained to the Italian press that the Aprilia RSV4 that Max Biaggi used to grab the runner up spot in Superpole was illegal. "The Aprilia is a prototype, and as such, is not allowed to race here in SBK. We will wait until after the race to make a formal complaint," he told the Italian broadcaster La7.

In the hours since the race, word of any official protest being lodged is yet to emerge, and so the statements made by Batta should probably be put down to the flamboyant Belgian's hot temper, rather than a genuine statement of intent. And given the results of Sunday's two Superbike races, where both Max Biaggi and Shinya Nakano finished outside the top 10, Batta may have decided to keep his powder dry, and wait for a more opportune moment.

But even if the Alstare boss does go ahead with his complaint, it is likely to fall on deaf ears. The Aprilia RSV4 1000 Factory has been homologated and approved by the FIM, making them officially legal in World Superbikes. According to Twowheelsblog.com, Batta's complaints center around the Aprilia's fuel injection system, which Alstare mechanics are claiming is the system as homologated. According to the FIM rules, the race bikes must use the same fuel injection system as used on the homologated machine. But any violation would be immediately apparent once the scrutineers get their hands on the machines at the technical inspection.

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