Red Bull KTM first time at Thailand but injury forces Pol Espargaro to sit out
Posted on Feb 15, 2018 by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team will be without Pol Espargaro for this week's MotoGP IRTA test at the Chang International Circuit. The Spaniard will remain in Europe to recuperate from surgery.
Having crashed heavily at the Sepang test, and being forced to miss the final day in Malaysia, Pol Espargaro returned to Barcelona and began to feel pain in his back while training. Having thought the pain was due to previous nerve damage the Spaniard was examined by Doctor Cáceres at Barcelona's Hospital Universitario Quirón Dexeus.
Upon further investigation, and consultation with Red Bull KTM, it was decided to undertake treatment as soon as possible. The surgery was performed without complications on Monday 12 February. It is expected that Espargaro will rest for one week before being cleared to resume training. Espargaro will start his rehabilitation as soon as possible in a bid to reach full fitness for the Qatar test on 1-3 March.
Pol Espargaro (Factory Rider MotoGP):
"I began to feel pain in my back at the end of last week. I thought at first that it was a nerve issue. I've had this in the past and I know that it can be quite painful so I went to the hospital on Monday for some treatment. Doctor Cáceres told me it was worse that I had thought and that I would need surgery. I decided to do this as soon as possible to avoid any further problems and to allow me to focus on being fit for the beginning of the season. It’s a shame to miss the test in Thailand because I also missed half of the Sepang test. It is an important test for us but I believe that Mika, Bradley and the whole team will do a great job. Now I need to focus on recovering from the surgery and then working on my physical condition to arrive as fit as possible to the last test in Qatar. This is something I didn’t expect but that I now have to deal with."
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP):
"On the one hand it's very sad that Pol will miss the test here in Thailand, but on the other side we have to be thankful that not more happened to him at the crash at Sepang. The surgery was absolutely necessary and went well, he already left the hospital and now has to focus on fitness. Bradley Smith together with Mika Kallio will continue our preparations for the new season here at Chang International Circuit."