Marc VDS Honda rider Tito Rabat has been forced to sit out this week’s second pre-season MotoGP test of 2017 at Phillip Island as he continues to recover from heavy injuries sustained last time out at Sepang.
The Spaniard crashed at turn eleven, breaking a number of bones in the fall and leaving himself with a number of open wounds that required a prolonged stay in hospital for intravenous antibiotics.
And while his broken hand and foot are making progress, it’s been a deep laceration to his knee that’s keeping him out of action, according to team boss Michael Bartholemy, after surgeons were forced to use a skin graft to close it.
"Tito has worked hard to be fit for the Phillip Island test, after sustaining quite debilitating injuries in Malaysia. While the fractures have healed nicely and wouldn't have stopped him from riding in Australia, the knee injury is a different story altogether.
“Despite intensive physiotherapy he still doesn't have the necessary extension in the joint and he risks popping the stitches – with the associated danger of infection – if he participates in the Phillip Island test. This is why we made the decision together with Tito to give him more time to recover ahead of the Qatar test, rather than risking everything for little gain by having him ride injured in Australia. This is the right decision for him and for the team.”
However, on the other side of the garage, teammate Jack Miller is looking forward to the outing at his home circuit, after making progress last time out in Malaysia with the RC213V.
"We arrive in Australia off the back of a successful three days in Sepang and the aim is to continue to build on what we achieved there. The lap times in Malaysia didn't really reflect the step forward we made with the front, because I didn't get a chance to throw in a soft tyre and go for it at the end, but the improvement was significant.
“Finally I had the front end feel that I've been missing and that was a massive boost to the confidence. Now we have to make the next step and close the gap to the quick guys at the top of the time sheet. I'm feeling fitter than ever after more training at home and I'm looking forward to the next three days at what is definitely the best track on the MotoGP calendar."
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