If ever there was a rider who epitomizes the phrase "checkered career", it's Fonsi Nieto. The Spaniard - and nephew of the legendary 13-time 125cc and 50cc champion Angel Nieto - has ridden in every class but World Supersport over the course of his 14 years in world championship motorcycle racing, seizing any opportunity to ride that he was offered, his best result coming in 2002, when Nieto ended the 250cc championship in 2nd, behind Marco Melandri.
But now Nieto's career is at an end. At a press conference on Monday, Nieto announced that he had decided to call it quits, after struggling to return to fitness after his horrific crash at Indianapolis, and the aftermath of the surgery it required. The Spaniard fractured bones in his ankle and foot during practice for the Indy GP, and was being treated in a local hospital, when an adverse reaction to painkillers saw Nieto suffer a respiratory arrest, though he was revived almost immediately.
Nieto never fully recovered from the injuries, his doctor telling the press conference that he still had no feeling in the sole of his left foot, and that the injuries were "practically irreversible." Nieto added that he had been unable to train properly since the accident, finding it impossible to train in the gym for more than 5 minutes before being forced to stop. Unwilling to compete without being at full fitness, Nieto chose the better path was to retire from racing altogether.
Nieto's retirement leaves his G22 team - run by Nieto's cousins, Pablo and Gelete - looking for a replacement. The team is already talking to several riders to take Nieto's place, but given the fact that the team has yet to announce a sponsor, a rider that brings money to the team would be a priority. One candidate whose name is being linked to the ride is Gabor Talmacsi, the Hungarian having demonstrated his ability last year on the Speed Up team, despite being outclassed by his teammate Andrea Iannone. Talmacsi has the dual advantage of being able to score points - the Hungarian scored one podium last season, and ended up 6th in the title chase - and bring sponsorship, as he is still immensely popular in his native Hungary. An announcement is expected in the next couple of days.