A jammed throttle caused the crash that ended Dani Pedrosa’s hopes of winning the 2010 MotoGP world title in Japan today.
The Spaniard was violently thrown from his factory Honda RC212V machine in the early stages of this afternoon’s opening practice session at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.
The 25-year-old suffered a badly broken left collarbone and is preparing to fly out of Tokyo this evening to undergo an operation in Barcelona scheduled to take place tomorrow (Saturday).
The crash killed off Pedrosa’s hopes of claiming a dramatic first MotoGP world crown. A run of four successive podium finishes had seen Pedrosa cut Jorge Lorenzo’s advantage to 56-points.
But the title race is likely to be over next weekend in Sepang with Pedrosa’s absence handing the title to Fiat Yamaha rival Lorenzo.
Honda’s statement issued a short time ago at the Twin Ring Motegi confirmed a technical failure had caused Pedrosa’s accident on his third lap of practice.
When he started to brake for turn nine, his throttle remained open and catapulted him at high speed into the gravel trap.
He broke his left collarbone in three places and he said: “Obviously this has been a really bad day for us. It was a strange crash in only my second full lap, in a slow section of the track.
"I tried to stop the bike as usual but I knew something was wrong and couldn’t avoid going down. After the crash I knew immediately that I was injured because it was very painful.
"I had a big impact in my left ankle and also my collarbone was broken as I hit the track - so obviously it feels very unlucky because recently we have had really good results.
"I’ve been very healthy through the pre-season and through the year and we had been working a lot to get to and stay at the maximum level. Another injury to contend with is really not what I needed - I don’t feel as though I deserve it.
"Anyway, once the doctors had checked everything here, we decided it was best to go back to Spain for the operation. I hope it goes as well as possible and that I can return to racing soon.”
Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, who finished the session in second place, witnessed Pedrosa’s heavy tumble and he said: “I’m really sorry for Dani. It’s always very bad for a rider when there are injuries.
"I was behind him and it was a bad crash. He fell quite hard and stayed under the bike when he slid. I hope he can recover soon.”