Pol Espargaro suffers injury blow in Qatar

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 10 March 2014 09:18

Pol Espargaro’s preparation for his rookie MotoGP season suffered a cruel blow in Qatar last night when he broke his left collarbone in a crash in the final hours of a promising pre-season campaign.

The reigning Moto2 world champion was entering Turn 6 at around 125mph but instead of downshifting to first, the Spaniard hit neutral.

He ran straight on but was unable to keep control of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine and he fell at around 75mph, according to Tech 3 data.

It was a particularly cruel late blow for the Spaniard, who ended the Qatar test with the second fastest time.

His best lap of 1.54.907 edged out Tech 3 teammate Bradley Smith in third and was only 0.033s behind brother Aleix Espargaro, who was in inspired form again on the new Forward Yamaha Open class machine.

Espargaro does have 10 days to recover before practice will start for the first race under the Losail International Circuit floodlights and he plans surgery on a small fracture in his left collarbone today in Spain.

Speaking to MCN, Espargaro’s Tech 3 crew chief Nicolas Goyon said: “He was coming into Turn 6 and you take this corner in first gear. He was shifting from second and hit neutral. He went straight quite fast and tried to recover the situation but unfortunately he crashed. It is a very big disappointment because it is a really, really small mistake and for me we had the best day since the beginning of the winter testing. He managed to make a decent step earlier in the way he is using the bike, so we were all very happy. He did a second race simulation that was fast and this is a very bad way to end testing. He will be back for the first race. We know (Jorge) Lorenzo came back very quickly in Assen last year and I am sure Pol will be back. But it certainly isn’t going to be the easiest way to start the championship.”