Days after surgery, Marco Bezzecchi heads to Mandalika

Marco Bezzecchi is travelling to Indonesia to try and ride in this weekend’s Mandalika MotoGP round, just days after surgery on a fractured right collarbone.
Marco Bezzecchi, Ducati MotoGP Motegi 2023
Marco Bezzecchi, Ducati MotoGP Motegi 2023

The VR46 rider went under the knife on Sunday following a training accident at Valentino Rossi’s moto ranch the previous day.

Already in danger of losing touch with title leaders Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin after dropping 54 points from the top, the injury looked set to rule Bezzecchi out of Indonesia and therefore potentially cost him a further 37 points.

But in a move that will revive memories of Jorge Lorenzo’s ‘man of steel’ return from a fresh collarbone fracture at Assen 2013, Bezzecchi hopes to be passed fit to ride this weekend by the MotoGP medical team.

“It will be a real race against time to try to be on track on Friday morning in Mandalika," Bezzecchi said. "The injury was not needed, especially at this crucial moment of the season.

"Immediately after the surgery, we saw the possibility of trying to participate at the GP. We waited 48 hours and after the last medical consultations and a very intense physiotherapy program until the last minute before departure, with the team, we decided to try to reach Indonesia to get the fit to race.

"It won't be easy, it will be an uphill and really challenging weekend, but I would like to be on track."

Although Bezzecchi is 54 points adrift under the new 2023 Sprint+GP weekend format, if this season was under the previous scoring system (without Sprints) Bez would be just 10 points from Martin and 6 behind Bagnaia.

Team-mate Luca Marini, who broke his left collarbone when he hit the back of Bezzecchi at Turn 1 of the Indian Sprint race, is also aiming to be back on track in Indonesia.

Team director Alessio Salucci said: “We don't have an easy weekend ahead of us, with both riders undergoing a medical check for two similar injuries that occurred at a truly crucial moment of the season. As a team we will do everything we can to support them and help them in this complicated time.

"A real shame, because both Luca and Marco were in a moment of grace and confidence in riding. They will both try to be on track, Luca is further along in the recovery process, while for Marco the situation is a little more complicated.

"Thanks go to all our fans, they have been fantastic in recent weeks, they have surrounded us with positive comments and encouragement on social media. As a team, we don't give up, we will do our best to finish the season by achieving the best possible results and repay our fans for their unparalleled support."

Mandalika is followed by Phillip Island and Buriram, on successive weekends.

Jorge Lorenzo’s ‘man of steel’ moment: ‘It was completely mad!’

Jorge Lorenzo broke his left collarbone in a fast highside during a wet Thursday practice at Assen 2013, flew back to Barcelona where the injury was plated that night, then sensationally returned to take part in the Saturday race.

The Spaniard, who was locked in a title fight with Dani Pedrosa, stunned by braving the pain for fifth place, a feat that saw him labelled the ‘man of steel’.

“It was a crazy thing. I don’t think it will be repeated! It was completely mad,” said Lorenzo last year.

However, the factory Yamaha star paid a high price at the next round in Germany, damaging the plate in an accident and requiring another round of surgery.

“Unfortunately, at the next race in Sachsenring I crashed again and bent the plate, but Assen will be remembered as one of the craziest things ever,” Lorenzo said.

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