Jorge Lorenzo pulled out of the Malaysian GP, the fourth race in a row in which the soon-to-be-ex-Ducati rider will have missed.
The former triple MotoGP champion had tried to ride, after having keyhole surgery to repair ligament damage to his left wrist. But after placing last in yesterday’s free practice and waking to increased pain, he decided to pull out.
Lorenzo’s second season with Ducati had brought three wins, but a purple patch of four pole positions in a row came to an abrupt end in the last European round at Aragon, when he sustained foot injuries in a first-corner crash.
At the next round in Thailand, a mechanical failure triggered a brutal high-side on Friday afternoon, causing left wrist injuries at first diagnosed only as a hairline fracture.
He withdrew after just two laps at the Japanese GP a fortnight later, where a more serious fracture was found; and flew home to Spain where they ligament repair was performed, missing the Australian GP altogether.
He returned to Malaysia, for at attempt at the third of three consecutive flyaway races, but elected to withdraw in the hope of being stronger for his last Ducati outing in Valencia, and (even more importantly) his first test on the Repsol Honda he will ride next year in the following week.
Ducati factory test rider Michele Pirro was on hand to take over in Malaysia. Last weekend independent-team Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista stood in, claiming an impressive fourth place. Pirro was engaged in testing next year’s Ducati at the time.
By Michael Scott