Stefan Bradl has been forced to miss the Sepang round of MotoGP, after fracturing his ankle in a crash during FP4. The LCR Honda rider fell at Turn 1, sliding unhurt towards the gravel, but clipped his foot on the carpet on the outside of the kerb which had been picked up by the handlebar of his Honda RC213V. The impact was enough to fracture the right medial malleolus (the spur on the inside of the tibia visible as part of the ankle), ruling him out of action for Sunday's race.
The original plan was for Bradl to be flown back to Barcelona for surgery, but instead, the German elected to have surgery in Kuala Lumpur under the supervision of Dr Busilacchi of the Clinica Mobile. The surgery was deemed a success, with two screws inserted to fix the fractured bone together. Bradl intends to be fit for the penultimate round of MotoGP at Motegi in two weeks' time. He will travel with the team to Phillip Island, where the medical team will assess his fitness, but Bradl is far from certain to be competing there.
Once it became clear that Bradl's injury was sufficiently serious that he would be forced to miss a race, speculation immediately started that Casey Stoner could be drafted in as a replacement for Bradl at the Phillip Island round. Stoner will be attending the Australian round of MotoGP and performing a lap of honor with fellow Australian former world champions Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner, but has made clear previously he does not intend to return to racing. When questioned by reporters at Sepang, HRC team principal Livio Suppo immediately quashed any idea of Stoner substituting for Stefan Bradl, telling French reporter Michel Turco that there was 'zero chance' of that happening. As Bradl is likely only to miss a single round, the LCR Honda team are not obliged to replace him.
Below are two press releases from the LCR Honda team, one before Bradl had surgery, and one after the surgery was successfully completed:
BRADL TO MISS MALAYSIAN ROUND
Sepang, 12 October: LCR racer Stefan Bradl will miss tomorrow’s Malaysian GP because entering turn one in todays’ final practice, he crashed and suffered a transversal fracture of the right medial malleolus. The German, who rides the RC213V, will undergo an operation tonight at the Kuala Lumpur Sports Medicine Centre supervised by Doctor Alberto Busilacchi (Mobile Clinic Orthopedic Surgeon) and Doctor Enric Caceres (Dorna Medical Team).
“I was quite confident in FP4 and we were on a new tyre to get ready for the QP2. So I started to push but for some reasons I felt a bit strange with the rear tyre because I could not get the proper grip quickly. Thus I tried to push on braking a bit too much for the first corner and I lost the front. Honestly it was not a heavy crash but I was unlucky. The handle bar of my bike immediately dug into the plastic grass and lifted a section of it up then unfortunately my right leg connected with it and got stuck. I immediately felt the pain and the x-ray exam revealed the fracture of the right malleolus”.
STEFAN BRADL HAD SUCCESSFUL SURGERY IN MALAYSIA
After the unlucky incident during the final free practice session of the Malaysian GP, which left LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl nursing a fractured right ankle, the German rider has undergone a successful surgical procedure at the Kuala Lumpur Sports Medicine Centre this Saturday evening.
The injury was diagnosed as a transversal fracture of the right malleolus, and the operation involved inserting two screws to knit the bone together. The procedure was performed by both Dr. Low Tze Choong, (orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon), and Dr. Alberto Busilacchi, the Clinica Mobile’s orthopaedic surgeon. The surgery was supervised by the MotoGP™ Medical Team member Dr. Enric Caceres.
Bradl will rest up in hospital overnight and will be able to leave the medical centre in the early afternoon tomorrow.
Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Honda Team Manager): “We are happy about the results of this operation; Stefan is doing well and now it will be a case of starting the recovery process on Monday. He will work with the physiotherapists until we sit down once again with the MotoGP™ Medical Team on Thursday at Phillip Island, when we will be able to form a much clearer prognosis.”