Angel Nieto KTM rider Jake Dixon will miss this weekend’s action at the Spanish circuit that shares a namesake with his team, as the Moto2 rookie continues to recover from injuries sustained last time out at the Grand Prix of the Americas.
Dixon crashed heavily at the end of free practice two at the Circuit of the Americas, landing heavily on the back of his head and suffering a severe concussion despite not losing consciousness in the fall. Unable to race in Texas, he’ll also miss this weekend’s action after further medical tests this week showed that he’s still not back to full fitness.
"I’ve just been to see the doctor today and he says we’re aiming to be back for Le Mans now, barring any mishaps. It’s not an ideal situation to be in because I’m missing Jerez, which is a track I’ve been to a lot and where we know the bike goes quite well. It’s a shame, but it is what it is. The doctor has given me the OK to get back training again, to get into a routine again and to start working towards Le Mans – and I think that’ll really help me mentally.
"For the last 17 days, I haven’t really been able to do a lot – I’ve just had to rest my brain. They’ve ran through how bad it can be for me in the long run if I don’t take the time now to recover properly, and I want to take the time out and come back 100%. You have to be able to make split second decisions at the speeds we’re riding at, so you have to be 100%.
"I’m starting to feel myself again though, and being able to train and go to my normal routine will help. By the start of next week, I’m aiming to start slowly riding again on a trials bike, and I’ve got a superstock bike that I’ll be able to ride before Le Mans to see how I’m feeling. Everything is heading in the right direction, even if I’m gutted to be missing Jerez."
Often regarded in the past as not a major injury, increasing focus in recent years on concussions and traumatic brain injuries have shown just how dangerous the condition can be. Suffering a second fall on a concussion that has still to heal often results in Second Impact Syndrome, a condition whose best-case scenario is severe brain damage and whose worst (and most likely) outcome is death.
Dixon will be replaced at Jerez by Italian Mattia Pasini, making his second wildcard appearance in two rounds after filling in for Augusto Fernandez in Texas. However, a long-time Kalex rider, it could be a more difficult weekend for him as he adapts to the KTM machine, even though he says he’s looking forward to the challenge.
"I am very happy to be riding at Jerez. It will be a different race to Austin because I am changing bikes and I have never ridden a KTM before. Hopefully I can find a good feeling quickly and I will work hand in hand with the team from the first moment to see what result we can aim for. I think we can do well but we will see how it goes over the weekend."
And while he might be disappointed not to be in Jerez, Dixon is intrigued to see what the team can learn from having someone with Pasini's experience try out his machine.
"It’ll be interesting to have someone as experienced as Pasini on my bike too though. He rode the Kalex in Austin and finished nearly on the podium so he’s a doer, and hopefully he can help push the team forward. I feel like I’m the number one in the team, because I’m consistently faster than my teammate, but I’m also new to the championship, so it makes it difficult for us when it isn’t quite working. It’ll be interesting to have some input from him to help out my team, and his experience might help KTM to improve too."
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