Stefan Bradl is to miss the rest of the 2017 WorldSBK season. The Red Bull Honda rider's wrist injury, sustained in a crash at Portimao, is more serious than initially thought, and the recovery period required means he will not be fit for either the Jerez or Qatar rounds of WorldSBK.
The decision was taken after surgery on Bradl's right wrist. Pins were inserted and a torn scaphulonate ligament reattached, damage sustained in the crash. The surgeons who performed the operation have ordered Bradl to keep his wrist immobilized to allow the damage to heal. This effectively makes it impossible for him to ride for the rest of the season.
The absence of Bradl puts the team in a difficult position. They are already having to substitute one rider, after the tragic death of Nicky Hayden in a cycling accident earlier this year. Now, they will also also have to replace Bradl as well. Takumi Takahashi replaced Hayden at Portimao, and will fill in at Jerez as well, but a clash with the All Japan Superbike series means he is unavailable for Qatar. Davide Giugliano is currently on one Honda at Magny-Cours, while American Jake Gagne takes the second seat. It is likely that some combination of those two riders will be used for the two remaining rounds.
The press release from the Red Bull Honda WorldSBK team appears below:
Stefan Bradl to miss the final two rounds of the 2017 WorldSBK season
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s Stefan Bradl will miss the remaining two rounds of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. The 27-year-old German highsided in the early stages of race one at Portimão on September 16th and was forced to miss the second encounter due to strong pain in his right wrist.
Following extensive medical checks back home in Augsburg, Germany, and being diagnosed with a torn scaphulonate ligament, Bradl underwent arthroscopy surgery on Thursday, September 28th, in which doctors inserted pins and wire to put back the two sides of the torn ligament in position – so that the healing process can begin. A seven-week full rest of the right forearm has been ordered by the group of doctors who performed the surgery, with a total of eight weeks required before Stefan will be able to begin with physiotherapy.
On October 11th, a new evaluation of Bradl’s wrist condition will be made in order to determine the exact date for the second surgery, in which pins and wire will be removed.
The team has not yet determined Bradl’s replacement rider for the remaining two rounds of the season.
Stefan Bradl 6
Obviously it’s quite a difficult time for me, as it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that I won’t be able to race for the rest of the season. I have to stay positive, though, and try to do everything needed to make sure that my hand and wrist are fully healed. Rest is now priority number one for the healing process. Luck hasn’t been on our side this year, but I couldn’t imagine that the consequences of my crash in Portimão were going to be so severe. I want to thank everybody who worked with me this year: it hasn’t been an easy one, not only from the sporting side but also for the tragedy we all had to endure early on. There’s not much I can do right now, but I will follow the races on TV and support the team from here.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Honda's WorldSBK Operations Manager
First of all, we want to with Stefan a speedy and full recovery, because that’s the most important thing. We felt things were going in the right direction at Portimão and we enjoyed seeing him improve his feeling and his speed on board the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, so that’s a real pity that we cannot have his talent by our side in the remaining rounds of the season. Jerez and Losail were two tracks he knew well, so we were looking forward to seeing him perform there. We will follow his recovery as we head into the last leg of the season.