Dani Pedrosa has been withdrawn from this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit after the Repsol Honda Team rider suffered a huge highside during free practice 2, resulting in a fracture to Pedrosa’s right collarbone. He be replaced by former 250 World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama.
Pedrosa was propelled off his bike at turn 11 during the second free practice, landing heavily on his right shoulder and subsequently dislocating it in the process. The Spaniard will more then likely fly back to Barcelona where he may require surgery. As a result of this, his involvement in the Australian and Malaysian Grand Prix looks uncertain.
Speaking Afterwards, Pedrosa explained how the crash came about and that his main focus is his recovery: “I’m obviously very sad about what happened, as I was looking forward to racing in Japan at Honda’s home circuit and one of my favorite tracks. I was on the out-lap of my last run in FP2 when I momentarily lost the rear entering turn 11, and when the tyre found grip again it launched me in the air. There’s not much more to say; now I just want to focus on recovering in order to get back on my bike as soon as possible.”
Honda have now called up 34 year old test rider Hiroshi Aoyama to replace Pedrosa this weekend. The 2009 250cc world champion who also subbed in for three races in 2015 whilst the Spaniard was undergoing surgery on an arm pump problem. The Japanese rider also stood in for Karel Abraham during the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring in 2015.
“First of all, I’m very sorry for Dani and I wish him a fast recovery,” Aoyama said.
“This definitely is not the best way to come into a race, but anyway, I’ll try and give my best for Honda in front of my friends and fans.”
“I won’t be able to use my racing number, as 7 has already been taken by Mike Jones, so I’ll use 73, which is the number I used in my first season in the 250cc GPs.”