Niccolo Canepa's first - and probably last - Australian MotoGP looks to have ended after just 30 minutes, with the Italian rookie injuring his arm in a Friday practice fall at Phillip Island.
The Pramac Ducati rider, whose seat will be taken by Aleix Espargaro next season, fell at the fearsome first turn (pictured) halfway through the hour long session, burning his right elbow in the process.
Initially taken to the Clinica Mobile, Canepa will be transferred to hospital in nearby Melbourne to disinfect the cut, check for any nerve or tendon damage and undergo a likely skin graft operation.
"I fell in fourth gear at more than 200km/h and while I was sliding on the asphalt I burned through my leathers and so my right elbow got burned quite deeply as well,” Canepa explained. “I feel a lot of pain from the shoulder to the hand but it seems like nothing is broken.
“We have to go to Melbourne hospital to clean and disinfect the cut. Only at that time will we be able to understand if a skin transplant will be possible. For Sunday's race we should know something more only after surgery,” he added.
Team technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini urged Canepa to think carefully about returning to action this weekend.
“We are very sad about what happened to Niccolò today: we have to wait and see how the operation will go. The doctors should make a skin transplant to close the cut,” he said. “My only advice to Niccolò is not to hurry, but stay calm and evaluate the situation of the injury carefully.”
Canepa's team-mate Mika Kallio also fell, albeit in far less dramatic circumstances. The Finn tipped over after running onto the grass at low speed at the Hairpin before claiming ninth on the timesheets.
“I went wide at turn four and when I was on the grass trying to get back on track I found a puddle and I couldn't manage the bike anymore,” he explained. “I ran back to the box and jumped on bike two, with which we made some modifications straight away. My feeling is good and to start in the top ten on Friday is always positive. Tomorrow with some adjustments we can be even more competitive.”