Nicky Hayden's preparation for the 2012 season has suffered a setback. The Marlboro Ducati rider crashed while training on an indoor flat track course, breaking his left shoulder blade and fracturing two ribs. The recovery period for the injury could force him to miss the Sepang MotoGP test scheduled for the end of January.
The accident is a second setback for Hayden's preseason testing. The American was forced to miss the Valencia post-race test after fracturing his scaphoid during the first-lap crash at the final race of the 2011 season. In a stroke of bitter irony, Hayden had taken to a motorcycle for the first time since breaking his wrist at Valencia, and crashed riding flat track on a special indoor facility, near his and his parents' home in Owensboro, Kentucky. In a fall Hayden describes as "a freak accident" in the Ducati press release, he fell heavily, breaking his shoulder blade and fracturing two ribs.
The good news for Hayden is that broken shoulder blades do not normally require surgery. The bad news is that the recovery period is normally 6 to 8 weeks, with normal functioning usually taking longer to return. With the first Sepang MotoGP test due to start on January 31st, Hayden's shoulder may not be sufficiently healed to take part in testing. That test is likely to be crucial, as a radically revised Ducati MotoGP bike is due to make its debut at the test, built around the data gathered from the Valencia post-race tests, and testing done by Carlos Checa and Franco Battaini at Jerez. Hayden is due to see the US racing fraternity's favorite surgeon, Dr Ting, next week, where he will undergo further tests to see how the injured scapula is progressing. Hayden and Ducati will be hoping that his recovery proceeds as quickly as possible.
Below is the press release from Ducati:
HAYDEN INJURED IN TRAINING ACCIDENT
Nicky Hayden's winter vacation was marred on Tuesday, December 27, when he broke his left scapula and fractured two ribs while training near his home in Owensboro, Kentucky. Hayden was training at a private indoor flat track facility, riding a motorcycle for the first time since breaking his scaphoid at the Valencia Grand Prix on November 6. He underwent an X-ray and CAT scan on the same day he was injured, and he has since undergone an MRI. At the moment, there are no plans for surgery, but Hayden will have the scapula reassessed next week by Dr. Arthur Ting in Fremont, California, to see how his fracture is progressing. According to the healing process, the next few weeks will determine whether Hayden will take part in the first winter test session of 2012, which will begin on January 31 in Sepang, Malaysia.
"Obviously, injuries are never good," Hayden said, "but it's part of motorcycle racing. Just like at Valencia, it was kind of a freak accident. I was starting to train again, like I normally do during the winter, at a private track near my house. I came up behind another rider, and he went to move out of the way. I wasn't going that fast, but he clipped my front wheel and I went down and landed pretty hard on my left shoulder, and that was it. It's disappointing, but there's nothing to do about it but heal quickly. Anyway, this doesn't change my expectations for 2012 which, fortunately, is just around the corner."