MotoGP Assen: Espargaro ruled out with rib injury

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro has been ruled out of any further Assen MotoGP action following a crash at the Sachsenring.

The Spaniard has been struggling with an injury in his ribs since an FP1 crash in Germany last week, and though he managed to ride through gritted teeth at the Sachsenring, he eventually had to retire from the race after eight laps.

“He is in massive pain. Yesterday in the morning’s rainy session, he felt quite good because when you race in the rain it is much smoother. FP2, the track was dry, and he had to push, he came in one time and he was completely blocked, he could not even breathe, I assume it is something in the rib,” said team boss Alberto Puig.

“I don’t think it is just a ligament, I think it is something in the rib that’s pressing the lung because Pol is a very strong guy and he will not stop a race just because. We cannot put a guy on the bike if he cannot breathe. We all unanimously decided not to do it.”

“In Sachsenring was such a big pain but I was able to ride with painkillers and some injections and anti inflammatories,” Espargaro explained from Assen on Saturday morning. “It was very hard to ride but it was okay, I could ride at least. Even if I retired, I did quite a lot of laps, but here when we put the [slick] tyre, I felt like something was not going good.

“Then when I pit in the pit box, I struggled to breathe, to take the air and I have something on my ribs, that it doesn’t let me take full air. I struggled this morning to walk and imagine to jump on a MotoGP!

“I feel very sorry for the team but I need to check this deeply because it’s such a big pain, it’s not normal and also this way of taking air, I don’t know.

“On the wet tyres you need to ride, you don’t need to push, to use your body to make it and I felt a little bit of pain but I could manage,” he continued on his Friday efforts. “So that’s why I finished third in the session but as soon I put the soft tyre in these mixed conditions, I was pushing and then when I pit in the box, I felt such a big pain. I was behind Jack Miller trying to follow him and the last lap I needed to give up because I couldn’t, I couldn’t manage. I didn’t expect it was so bad but then when I pit in and everything cooled down, it really hurt so much and till that moment, when I woke up this morning and I said it was impossible.

“It’s a place where you don’t have a big, big brakes, which doesn’t make it so physical, but the change direction are in a huge high speed so you need to move these bikes from one side to another with more than 160 kilos and more than 200k per hour,” Espargaro said of the Dutch layout. “So is a very tricky place for that, you need a super stable bike. We are looking for that in our Honda but at the moment, we struggle a little and the bike is moving quite a lot. But these long bikes like Ducati and Yamaha, or even Aprilia, where they have a lot of stability in these kind of places, they take this extra. So it’s a nice place to see racing and unfortunately I cannot race so I feel very sorry.”