Kurtis Roberts flew home to America for further treatment on his damaged right shoulder after just a handful of laps in the first MotoGP practice session at Welkom.

Roberts injured his shoulder when he crashed the Proton KR machine in a pre-season test. He hopes to be fit to ride for the Oxfordshire-based team at the second round at Jerez.

"I was concerned about my shoulder before I came here, and it's definitely not right at the moment," explained the American. "Especially after Turn One, where you have to lean off the wrong side setting up for the next turn over some bumps, and the handlebars are moving around.

"It puts my shoulder at a weird angle where it feels it might pop out again - the same angle where it popped out before. That would be the worst thing to happen right now. I'll go home and continue with physiotherapy, and come back when it is all right," he added.

"The decision to send Kurtis home was obviously right," said his father and team boss Kenny. "He was having trouble out of Turn One and if his shoulder popped out it would set him back by another three or four weeks. It's better to get him fully recovered."

Meanwhile, team-mate Nobuatsu Aoki was left just 21st fastest, out of the 22 remaining riders.

"Today was horrible," stated Roberts Sr. "We knew it would be our worst race, but when you get here and face that reality it's hard to be happy. The engine performance was better than we expected, though. We're not ready to be here. We're still waiting for parts, and it's a matter of time."



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