MotoGP title contender Dani Pedrosa fractured his right collarbone in a controversial clash with Marco Simoncelli at Le Mans on Sunday - just as he was returning to fitness after six months of arm problems following a broken left collarbone.
Pedrosa began round-four second in the championship, and provided the only opposition to Repsol Honda team-mate and eventual winner Casey Stoner for the first ten laps of the race.
Thereafter Stoner's superior pace began to tell and Pedrosa was left to defend second against a closing Simoncelli.
The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider passed Pedrosa early on lap 18 of 28, before Pedrosa powered narrowly ahead along the back straight.
But when Pedrosa took the inside line into the following Esses, Simoncelli attempted to regain the position by sweeping around the outside.
As Simoncelli cut across the front of Pedrosa contact was made, sending the 2010 title runner-up to the ground and breaking his collarbone.
Simoncelli continued but was given a ride-through penalty, which denied him of a debut MotoGP rostrum as he finished the race in fifth. But that was of little consolation to Pedrosa.
"I was having a good race, the goal was to ensure another podium and I had it in my grasp. But it counts for nothing,” said Pedrosa. “Simoncelli overtook me, I passed him back and I had the better line, he just came into me releasing the brakes and I could do nothing.
“I leave here with a broken collarbone and he with a ride through penalty, good for him! Yet again I come out worse off. We only just recovered from the nightmare of the last operation and now I'm hurt again. It is very unfair, I don't deserve it".
Pedrosa left the circuit for Barcelona immediately after the race, in order to check if another operation will be necessary.
Last month, Pedrosa underwent surgery to remove a plate from his left collarbone, which had been restricting blood flow and causing arm numbness.
The operation was a success and he took his first victory of the season at the following Estoril round.
The only consolation for Pedrosa, now third in the championship and 17 points from Jorge Lorenzo, is that there is a three-week gap in the calendar until the Catalunya round on June 5.
However, the accident means Pedrosa will surely be unable to make his planned debut on the 2012 Honda, due to take place in a private test at Jerez before the next round.