By Lisa Lewis

The Australian Moto2 round had been billed as Scott Redding's best chance to return to winning ways after a series of results described as 'damage limitation'.

But such thoughts came to a sudden end when the title leader was injured in Phillip Island qualifying.

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Having sustained a fractured radius the British rider was moved to Epworth Hospital for surgery - a metal plate and six screws being placed into his wrist.

With Redding's rehabilitation programme not due to start for three to four days, the final round of the season at Valencia is the current target for his return to racing.

Redding is however understandably reluctant to give up on his title dream, posting a quote from the movie 'Rocky Balboa' to Twitter post-surgery:

"It's not about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, it's about how much you can take. "

He had also posted the following directly after the race:

"Was (a) shame not to race today giving some valuable point to my rivals, we can't change what happened but we will stay strong and focused".

As Redding's weekend went horrifically wrong, everything fell nicely into rival Pol Espargaro's hands.

Just before qualifying was red-flagged the Pons rider had moved into pole position form tenth on the timesheets. He held on to the position. Before those pivotal few moments Esteve Rabat had dominated the weekends proceedings, with Redding very much in the frame.

The Spaniard then translated it into his fifth win from the front of the grid this season.

Espargaro was pressured for much of the distance by Tom Luthi until an error took the Swiss rider out of contention, the shortened race distance of 13 laps meaning the Interwetten Paddock rider had little time to make up for his mistake.

Though saying he was unhappy with the circumstances of his win as he would have preferred a race with his main title rival, the Pons Tuenti HP 40 rider was clearly overcome to have taken the lead in the championship at the perfect moment, turning a nine point deficit into a 16 point lead over the Englishman:

"I think it is a great moment in my career. We are leaders with two races remaining. I'm sorry to not have able to achieve this with Scott on the track".

It is the first time Espargaro has held the lead in the championship since he won the opening round in Qatar.

Incredibly, it was the first race Redding had missed in four years.

As a benchmark, earlier this season with a weekend to recover between rounds, Sandro Cortese fractured his wrist in Brno but managed a comeback at the next round in Silverstone, finishing off the pace in 21st.

Michael Bartholemy, team principal at Marc VDS gave a realistic assessment on the return of his title hope:

"Scott's surgery went well yesterday and he'll start the rehabilitation programme in a few days. I know losing the lead in the championship will have hurt him a lot today, but his focus must now be on his own recovery, ahead of a return to racing at Valencia."

The major changes to the championship after the Australian round mean that if Redding does not race in Motegi then Espargaro needs only a podium finish at the Twin Ring circuit in Japan to secure the Moto2 title.

The Barcelona based rider is ready for the challenge and is aiming for victory once again:

"The goal for the next race remains the same. We are going to Japan with the intention of winning, because I believe that we we must continue with the same attitude that we are having this season".

He also remains aware after the Redding crash that anything is still possible before the season finale in Valencia, offering the following thought:

"Our sport is dangerous, and this can happen at any time, on any return and any curve."