Colin Edwards has been ruled out of Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix after suffering a broken left collarbone during qualifying at Estoril, for which he is to under surgery.
The MotoGP veteran, who also broke a collarbone at Catalunya last year and suffered further shoulder damage in Marco Simoncelli's fatal accident at Sepang, tangled with fellow CRT rider Randy de Puniet with eleven minutes of the session remaining.
de Puniet lost the front of his Aprilia, which then slid across the asphalt and wiped out the unsuspecting Edwards, who was off the racing line on an out-lap. de Puniet eventually walked away, but Edwards remained stationary on the edge of the track after landing hard on his left shoulder.
The Texan was carried away on a stretcher during the red flag period and a fractured left collarbone was later confirmed by the circuit medical centre.
On Saturday evening, 18th fastest Edwards proved he hadn't lost his notorious sense of humour, writing on his Twitter page (@TexasTornado5): "Thanks for the well wishes from all of ya. Total bummer. Wrong place, wrong time and we were looking good for pole position too :) LOL."
The 38-year-old will now travel to Barcelona to have surgery on his collarbone, which is expected to be performed by Dr. Javier Mir - who also carried out last year's surgery - on Monday.
“Our main concern is Colin's wellbeing,” said Forward Racing managing director Marco Curioni. “We are hoping he will have surgery performed on Monday by Dr. Javier Mir in Barcelona and this is our main concern.
“The only positive outcome of today would be that the difficulties encountered during this morning's free practice were solved and during qualifying unfortunately he wasn't able to get in his fast lap.”
Edwards, who has finished 12th and 16th in his first races on the Suter-BMW, now has until May 20th to recover if he is to ride in the Le Mans round. Edwards finished on the wet British GP podium just one week after last year's collarbone surgery.
de Puniet, who suffered abrasions to his fingers and contusions to his left shoulder, has been declared fit to race.
"It was a very strong collision with Colin," said the Frenchman, who qualified 14th. "I braked hard and lost the front. I wanted with all my heart to miss Colin.
"I have no fractures but breathing really hurts. Tomorrow I will not be 100% but will do my best. Anyway, my target does not change; be the first CRT."
Until last year's Catalunya practice accident, Edwards had never missed a MotoGP race since his 2003 debut.