Pedrosa breaks collarbone; Lorenzo close to title

The long haul to Motegi, Japan resulted in just five minutes of on-track running for Dani Pedrosa before he struck disaster that will put him out of the race and effectively end his championship campaign.

Dani lost control of his Honda under braking on the straight into turn 9 and crashed, landing awkwardly on his left side with his foot pinned under the bike. He was initially up and walking, but quickly realised that more serious injury had been done and was then put on a stretcher and taken to the infield medical centre.

Initial reports suggested that he had injured his left ankle when it was pinned under the bike, but this was found to be a harmless contusion. Instead, X-rays have now determined a three-fragment fracture of Dani’s left clavicle that will require surgery to implant plates to facilitate healing.

“When he crashed he suffered a multiple fracture of the left collarbone, and that requires an operation to have the best chance of returning to racing as soon as possible,” explained MotoGP’s medical director Michele Macchiagodena, before adding: “But not for this race, of course.

“First we need to know when he can be operated on, then we will know when he can race again. We will see him in Australia.”

Australia is on October 17 and so this would mean Pedrosa missing the intervening race in Malaysia next weekend, and would only be back for the final three races at most. Given Jorge Lorenzo’s existing 56pt lead over Pedrosa (and 129pt lead over third placed Casey Stoner) and a maximum of only 25pts available per race, Dani’s accident seems to have all but secured Jorge’s first world championship – although he can’t quite mathematically clinch the title this weekend whatever happens.

Lorenzo’s task has been made easier by Pedrosa’s injury and by Valentino Rossi’s broken leg at Mugello in June on top of his struggles with a damaged shoulder following a motocross crash in April during pre-season training. With Casey Stoner having performance problems with this year’s Ducati, Lorenzo’s been gifted a much, much smoother run than he could have dared dream; but at the same time he has been by far the most consistent rider in 2010, failing to finish on the podium in just one race so far this season.

Dani’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, as MotoGP enters an unprecedented frenzy of activity to conclude the season with the last five races packed into just six weeks. It wasn’t entirely intended: this week’s Motego event should have happened in April but was postponed amid the travel chaos caused by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.


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