Andrea Iannone will return to MotoGP action this weekend in Malaysia after missing Aragon, Motegi and Phillip Island thanks to an injury sustained in free practice for his home race at Misano six weeks ago.
Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti confirmed the news to MCN before Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix; after new scans of the Italian’s broken vertebrae revealed that they had sufficiently healed to allow him a return to the championship.
He is coming to Sepang. It looks like the results of the last scan he did on Monday show that the fracture is not completely healed, because that will take two months or more, but is in a good stage not to cause any worry.”
The team principal also downplayed rumours of a falling out between the squad and Iannone, who will depart for Suzuki at the end of the 2016 season.
“There was no tension. We were a bit surprised to know quite late that he would not be coming to Motegi, and at the beginning of the week before we went there it all looked OK even though he said he still had some pain when he moved. We thought he would come and try.
“But eventually he went to see a doctor who strongly advised that he take ten more days to get the healing process to a stage where it’s safe. It was just that we basically learned about it the weekend before Motegi, and had to organise a replacement.
“We thought we wouldn’t need to send a replacement, but Dorna and IRTA interpreted the rule differently and told us that we had a test rider we could. But because Michele was testing a hybrid 2016/2017 bike and it was a very important test to allow us to bring the 2017 bike to the Valencia test, we didn’t want to cancel it or postpone it.”