Jorge Lorenzo underwent two hours of surgery earlier this morning in Barcelona, Spain, to insert eight screws and a titanium plate to secure his fractured collarbone. By the afternoon, the Yamaha rider was back in the Netherlands to prove he is healthy enough to race in tomorrow’s TT Assen.
The reigning MotoGP champion broke his collarbone in three places after high-siding in a wet practice session Thursday. The assumption at the time was that Lorenzo would miss at least the Assen round, giving series leader Dani Pedrosa a chance to increase his seven-point lead over his rival.
But after a quick visit home for emergency surgery, Lorenzo returned to Assen intending to race. Lorenzo will meet with the Medical Center Saturday morning before the race, seeking clearance to take part.
Should he receive the O.K., Lorenzo will start 12th on the grid because he set the quickest time in any of the free practice sessions before his accident.
“The collarbone was in three pieces,” Wilco Zeelenberg, Team Manager for Yamaha Factory Racing, tells Motogp.com. “They did a great job in Barcelona. The collarbone is very stable, so that means he can move around without actually moving it, so that is a good thing but he is very tired at the moment. He took the decision (to return) quite soon. A collarbone is a collarbone – it’s not a knee or an elbow or a wrist, which are much more important for riding the bike.”
Lorenzo’s competitiveness is commendable, and though he may believe he is able to race, there is the potential risk of further injuries. Pramac Ducati rider Ben Spies is a prime example. The Texan injured his shoulder and cracked a rib at last year’s Phillip Island race and has made several attempts to race this year but has now missed the last four rounds.
Zeelenberg recognizes the potential danger but he tells MotoGP.com the risks aren’t much larger than the risks any rider faces in a race.
“Yes, of course we need to judge this very carefully, but these riders are risking a lot every race – even to win as he did at Mugello and Barcelona takes a lot of risk.” says Zeelenberg. “To risk a little bit less tomorrow and finish the race is maybe not such a big risk for him … if he crashes tomorrow or within two weeks it will be the same result – a drama – but it will be like this for the rest of the season because the plate will stay inside (the collarbone) for a year.”
While Lorenzo was receiving medical treatment, Tech3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow earned his first MotoGP pole position. He’ll be joined on the front row by Repsol Honda‘s Marc Marquez and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl. Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi will start fourth ahead of Pedrosa and Tech3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith.