Le Mans MotoGP Injury Update: Bautista Out, Spies And Kallio In

While the first day of practice at Le Mans was - unusually - a crash-free affair, day 2 got off to a bad start, with falls in the 125 and MotoGP classes, as riders pushed too hard on a cool track. In the MotoGP class, Ben Spies, Alvaro Bautista and Mika Kallio all had big crashes, both Bautista and Spies highsiding spectacularly.

Things looked worst for Spies, the Texan being stretchered off to the Clinica Mobile, but after inspection - and  worries about a fractured metatarsal bone in his left foot - Spies was pronounced badly bruised, but healthy. Spies and Kallio are both expected to ride this afternoon, the injuries not serious enough to prevent them.

Alvaro Bautista was also lucky to escape relatively uninjured from his monster highside, merely banging up his ankle. But the Rizla Suzuki rider has decided that discretion is the better part of valor, and will be sitting out the rest of the weekend. Bautista has decided to give his injured shoulder a chance to rest and recover, rather than risk further injuring himself, and jeopardizing the busiest part of the season. Nobuatsu Aoki is here at Le Mans and could take Bautista's place, but the Japanese veteran and Suzuki test rider appears to have been ruled out of competing, as Aoki would only have limited practice time and would be using up an engine which Bautista may want to preserve for later in the season.

Back to top

Comments

Bautista just had his collarbone plated not much more than a week ago, was unable to put in more than 5 laps yesterday and then flings himself off again. Lucky he didn't do more damage to the shoulder. Dumb move on his and his team's part. Aoki is no threat for taking Bautista's ride, it's good to put someone fresh on the bike for another opinion once in a while, and the team needs their rider fit. Makes no sense to let him go out like that.

He couldn't know how good or bad he would feel on the bike without at least giving it a try. These are racers, you can't expect them to just stay at home without as much as getting a sniff at the possibilities they might have. And Bautista is one of the Rookies who had very little track time in preparation for the season which makes him very antsy to be on the bike as much as possible. And even when he's not fighting for the title, it would even make sense points-wise to just finish a race as the chance for every rider to get points is extremely high in MotoGP (see today's race with Kallio about a minute behind and still getting 3 points).

Riding without painkillers on Friday served as a first assessment of the pain level, the injection on Saturday should have made it possible for him to ride more than 5 laps in a row. And it's not like he crashed on purpose, that was certainly not part of the plan.

Surely from an outside perspective we might say to better stay at home from the start, but I can understand his perspective and the wish to race. After all, it's his decision.

"Nobuatsu Aoki is here at Le Mans and could take Bautista's place, but the Japanese veteran and Suzuki test rider appears to have been ruled out of competing, as Aoki would only have limited practice time and would be using up an engine which Bautista may want to preserve for later in the season."

Another reason in my opinion the 6-engines a season rule is stupid. It's one thing that Aoki won't take part due to limited practice time, but also because he'd be using up an engine?? Come on...

If the engine rules means that it's more important for the bike to sit than to get on track and run, then that is a very sad state of affairs indeed.