Niccolo Canepa is facing an indefinite time on the World Superbike Championship sidelines after revealing he has developed Bell's palsy in recent weeks.
The former MotoGP rider, who is currently competing in his maiden World Superbike season with the Red Devils Roma Ducati team, revealed he had been feeling unwell in the break between races last time out at Motorland Aragon.
Over the next few days he says he developed a virus that in turn led to a bout of Bell's palsy, a condition that causes half of the face to paralyse and has no standard recovery time. Despite this, Canepa is confident he will be back on the bike for Silverstone.
“At Aragon between the two races I felt bad and after ten days I have half of my face was paralysed (Bell's palsy) by a viral attack. Unfortunately I cannot close well the eyelid, so riding a bike in these conditions would be dangerous.
“Doctors assured me that within a few days these symptoms will disappear and that all will be normal, but for now I must surrender my trip to Brno. For my part I will try to be in good shape in the next round at Silverstone in early August."
In the meantime, Alex Polita will ride the Ducati 1098R at Brno, the Italian returning to international competition after his brief foray into the British Superbike Championship aboard a Jentin Doodson Ducati 1199 Panigale was curtailed after just four events.
Canepa is currently 17th in the standings with a best finish of eighth position at Assen.