The MotoGP race at Phillip Island is to start without the two factory Yamaha riders, both Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo being forced to miss the race with injury. Ben Spies' withdrawal has been forced after the Texan received a bang to the head in a huge, 270 km/h crash during qualifying yesterday, but the bigger news is Jorge Lorenzo. The reigning World Champion crashed heavily during the morning warm up session in Australia, losing part of his left ring finger in the process. The injury leaves him incapable of racing, and he will be forced to sit out the race. Lorenzo's absence means that Casey Stoner only needs to finish 6th at his home race to become 2011 MotoGP World Champion.
Below is the offical press release from Yamaha:
Yamaha Factory Riders to Miss Australian Grand Prix
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will not ride in today's Grand Prix of Australia following separate on track incidents by both.
World Champion Lorenzo was declared unfit to race after sustaining an injury to the fourth finger of the left hand during this morning's warm up. He will travel to Melbourne to undergo plastic surgery to repair the damage. A post surgery report will follow.
Lorenzo's team mate Spies received a hit to the head yesterday during the qualifying session after a high speed crash. After attempting to ride some laps in this morning's warm up, the rider reached an agreement with team members that with reduced concentration attempting the race would be considered too dangerous for himself and other competitors.