The World Superbike grid at Magny-Cours has been reduced to just 18 riders after Ruben Xaus was forced to pull out with a neck injury.

The Spaniard crashed on his first flying lap during FP1, the Castrol Honda rider sustaining a neck injury and sitting out the entire Friday programme, which has now been extended to the remainder of the event on the advice of doctors.

It's the second injury woe for Xaus in less than three months after he was forced out of Silverstone and the Nurburgring rounds because of an injury he picked up at Brno.

More alarmingly for WSBK organisers, Xaus's withdrawal reduces a grid that is already missing Max Biaggi and Chris Vermeulen, meaning just 18 riders will start the two races in France.