Dani Pedrosa's crash during the first session of free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi effectively ended the Repsol Honda rider's chances of wresting the 2010 MotoGP championship away from Jorge Lorenzo. The incident, caused by a wayward throttle return spring leaving his throttle jammed open while braking, saw Pedrosa crash heavily and fracture his collarbone in three places, as well as suffer a grade 1 ankle sprain, ruling him out of Sunday's Japanese MotoGP round.
Pedrosa flew back to Spain immediately after the crash on Friday evening, and was admitted to the Dexeus Institut hospital in Barcelona, where he had surgery to fit a custom-made titanium plate to his collarbone to fixate it on Saturday. On Monday, Pedrosa was officially discharged and sent home to recuperate, which will involve a program of physiotherapy. Pedrosa is reported to be recovering well, and is scheduled to return to the Dexeus Institut on Wednesday for a further medical evaluation of his condition.
The incident does mean that Pedrosa's title chase is basically over: In a personal blog on the Repsol website, Pedrosa said his focus was on making a full recovery, rather than getting back to racing as soon as possible. "I can say that I will soon be starting physical rehab, without focusing on a date to return to racing," the Spaniard writes. "We will see how the injury goes over the next few days, and from there, start to think about returning to the track. The most important thing is to make a full recovery."
Pedrosa's statements imply that he will be forced to skip the next race at Sepang in Malaysia, unsurprising given the seriousness of the injury. With a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, getting to Kuala Lumpur on time would be just about physically possible, but the value of riding the day after such a long flight and with a still weakened shoulder is limited. Pedrosa is likely to miss out on Sepang, and could elect to skip Phillip Island as well, which takes place the weekend after. His next race would then be at Estoril in Portugal, which would give him nearly four weeks to recover.
With Pedrosa probably out of Sepang, Jorge Lorenzo will clinch the 2010 MotoGP title in Malaysia, barring an engine blow up or a serious crash. As Lorenzo said in Motegi, this is not the way he wanted to win a title, but given the Fiat Yamaha rider's seven victories this season, there can be no doubts that Lorenzo deserves the crown.
The official Repsol press release appears below:
Dani Pedrosa is discharged from hospital
The Repsol Honda Team rider left the USP Dexeus clinic this morning, 48 hours after undergoing surgery, and immediately started rehabilitation.
Dani Pedrosa left the USP Dexeus clinic in Barcelona at 10:00 a.m. this morning, after a successful operation on the injury to his left collarbone on Saturday at lunchtime. The Head of the Hand Surgery Unit at USP Dexeus, Dr. Xavier Mir, discharged the rider 48 hours after the operation, after observing that he was recovering from the operation as expected.
Yesterday, Pedrosa started passive monitoring of his left shoulder and today, he will start active-passive rehabilitation, under the supervision of his physiotherapist. On Wednesday 6 October, Dani Pedrosa will return to the clinic in Barcelona to visit Dr. Mir for the necessary treatment and to check how the injury is progressing after the operation.
The Repsol rider was admitted to the A&E department of the USP Dexeus in Barcelona at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, as soon as he landed from Japan, where he fell in the first free practice at the Motegi circuit. On Saturday at lunchtime, he underwent surgery on the comminuted fracture (4 fragments) of his left collarbone, in which he underwent a fixation with a titanium plate with eight holes, made especially for the collarbone, and a fixation of the intermediate fragments with two compression screws.
After leaving the clinic, Pedrosa wanted to share his thoughts after the operation with all of his fans and he has done through his blog (spanish) at www.repsol.com.
Dr. Xavier MIR:
"48 hours after operating on Dani Pedrosa's fractured left collarbone, which we fixed using a titanium plate, the post-operation process is correct and yesterday he started to make small passive movements of his shoulder and elbow.
We have discharged him and today he will start active-passive rehabilitation with his trusted physiotherapist. We will meet again next Wednesday to treat him again and check how the injury is evolving."