By Stephen English
MotoGP's leading riders have given their opinions on Jorge Lorenzo's collarbone-breaking accident that has ruled him out of Saturday's Dutch TT and dealt a blow to his 2013 title challenge.
The reigning double champion, who had closed to within seven points of Dani Pedrosa
with wins at the last two rounds, fell heavily during the wet second practice session at Assen.
Lorenzo's Factory Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi
believes the Spaniard touched a white line, triggering the highside, but that the title chase is far from over.
"I think he touched the white line in a very fast point, it is 5th gear there and he was also a bit on the banking and when he touched the line it was a big crash," said Rossi. "It is a pity for Jorge and our team because he is coming off two victories in a row. He was riding very well and he was in a good moment.
“He has a broken collarbone and this injury is usually not very bad and I think he can be ready for the Sachsenring and will lose just one race. So nothing is closed for the championship."
Lorenzo also failed to score at Assen last year, following a first corner clash with Alvaro Bautista, but still went on to lift the title. Compatriot and star rookie Marc Marquez wished Lorenzo all the best for his recovery, adding that racing against the #99 helps him learn how fast a MotoGP bike can be ridden.
"I was very sorry for Jorge because that corner is very fast," said the Moto2 champion. "He has had a perfect start to the season but he was unlucky that his second crash [of the year] has injured him. I hope he has a good recovery. I would prefer to race against Jorge because he is so fast and in my first year I want to see where the limit is. Always you push harder when he is there."
Leading satellite rider Cal Crutchlow also gave his views on the injury - and having fractured his own collarbone two years ago during practice for the British Grand Prix, the Englishman has a good perspective on the recovery process.
“He has been lucky in a sense because of the Saturday race here he has got an extra day," said the Englishman. "He will have the best treatment and we know that people can ride with a broken collarbone. I did it and I am sure Jorge is tough enough to come back and ride because Sachsenring is a tough circuit, especially on your left collarbone."
The Yamaha Tech 3 rider added that Lorenzo's riding style could also help in terms of an early comeback.