Alex De Angelis has suffered serious injuries as a result of a very heavy fall during the FP4 session of practice for the MotoGP class, losing control of his bike on the exit of Turn 9 and ending up against the crash barrier on the opposite side of the track before turn 10. The crash caused Race Direction to red flag the session, while De Angelis received treatment on track. Fortunately, De Angelis was soon reported as being conscious and able to move his limbs.
The man from San Marino was taken first to the medical center, then airlifted to the nearby Dokkyo Hospital in Mibu. After examination, De Angelis was found to have fractured several vertebrae, with initial reports stating five vertebrae, and later reports bringing the total to seven vertebrae, including three where the vertebra body was fractured, the round part of the bone which encases the spinal cord. Doctors are working to stabilize those fractures, to ensure De Angelis does not suffer spinal injury, of which there is currently no sign. De Angelis also suffered three broken ribs and a bruised lung, which is a cause for concern. The lung is being monitored for bleeding and infection, both of which could cause breathing difficulties.
De Angelis took a very heavy blow to the head in the crash, and is unable to remember anything about the accident. Though no brain trauma has been found, the doctors are once again monitoring his condition very closely to ensure nothing untoward turns up.
The Italian will remain in hospital in Dokkyo for the next few days, and is likely to be flown back to Italy as soon as he is stable enough to be moved. He is almost certainly out for the rest of the season, and given the difficulty of finding a replacement rider at such short notice, right at the start of three back-to-back flyway races, it seems unlikely he will be replaced soon.