With Bradley Smith a reluctant spectator at his home MotoGP, injuries haunted the grid, as the season moves into its most intensive period, many of the worst sustained in training or testing accidents.
In MotoGP, Jack Miller was back after missing two races after sustaining hairline spin and wrist fractures in Austria … only for more pain in his right hand to unearth another small fracture there. Dovizioso was limping and undergoing intensive physiotherapy after a seemingly innocuous tumble in private Ducati tests at Misano left him with wrenched knee ligaments. Petrucci was looking second-hand after a road accident … on his father’s scooter as he returned from the barber shop. He had been hit by a car, and suffered extensive road rash.
But Smith was the worst hurt, likely to miss several more races, and possibly the rest of the season, after a serious knee injury left him requiring surgery (scheduled for this week) to repair badly damaged ligaments. He was helping Yamaha’s unsuccessful attempt to lift the World Endurance title from serial winners Suzuki at the Oschersleben 8 Hours after they had won at Suzuka, but another rider’s bike slammed into him after a tumble in free practice, and its fork leg caused a major injury to his right leg. He was helicoptered to hospital where the wound was closed with 15 stitches; but the ligament damage will be more complicated to repair.
In Moto2, Alex Rins’s title hopes took a serious blow when the Spaniard broke his right collarbone in a training fall – from a mere 100cc practice bike. He was at Silverstone but seriously hampered, after “my mechanics” fitted a plate with six screws.
Swiss Moto2 rider Dominique Aegerter was also out of the British GP and probably two or three more races, after suffering multiple injuries in a motocross crash the worst of them to shoulder ligaments. His place was taken by Spanish teenager Iker Lecuona.
By Michael Scott