MotoGP title leader Jorge Lorenzo has sent his best wishes to reigning champion Casey Stoner, who has wthdrawn from this weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix due to injury.
The Honda rider fell in qualifying last Saturday at Indianapolis, sustaining fractures and ligament injuries to his right ankle, but returned to finish fourth in the race.
However on Thursday the Australian was informed that he risks permanent damage unless he undergoes surgery.
Third in the championship and 39 points behind Lorenzo, Stoner's withdraw effectively means his hopes of retiring as a triple world champion are over.
“It is very bad news for the championship, that Casey is out of this race and maybe the next two or three races,” said Lorenzo. “It is also bad news that Nicky [Hayden] and Hector [Barbera] will not race on Sunday.
“So I just wish them all a quick recovery, especially Casey who is a very tough competitor for me and Dani. Without him it will not be the same in the races. For sure we will have an easier time in qualifying and the races without him.
“But racing is sometimes like this, people crash and are injured. This time it has happened to Casey and we can only wish him very good luck to recover and see him soon.”
Lorenzo will start Sunday's Brno race with an 18-point lead over Stoner's team-mate Dani Pedrosa, winner at Indianapolis.
“Obviously it's bad news, especially for my team and for me,” said Pedrosa of Stoner's injury. “Always, me and Casey push each other in every session, so it was good for us and good for the team.
“Now being alone in the team I have to push all I can for our team. Thinking positive, I'm just hoping Casey can get good surgery and recover quickly.”
Turning to the races ahead, Pedrosa added: “I hope I can continue like this, have luck and keep focus. Because there are still seven races to go.”