Hiroshi Aoyama's vicious highside during the morning warmup at Silverstone is to have consequences which reach further than the British Grand Prix. After landing very heavily on his back in the crash, the Interwetten Honda rider was examined in the Clinica Mobile in the Silverstone paddock, where the decision was taken to move him to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for further examination. A CT scan found a suspected fracture of the T12 vertebra.
After a night of rest, Aoyama underwent another CT scan this morning, which confirmed yesterday's diagnosis. The Japanese rider is to be flown back to Barcelona, where he will undergo another examination, and where a course of treatment will be decided upon.
Aoyama's injury means that the reigning 250 World Champion's injury will definitely miss Assen, is very likely to miss Barcelona, and could be out for the Sachsenring and Laguna Seca as well. So far, no news has been forthcoming on whether and when the Interwetten Honda team will field a replacement, but there was already talk in the paddock that Aoyama could be replaced perhaps as soon as Assen. With Aoyama joining Valentino Rossi on the injury list, the grid has been reduced to just 15 starters. There is a great deal of pressure on Dorna and from Dorna to ensure that replacements are found as soon as possible.