By Lynne Huntting

Injured MotoGP title contender Dani Pedrosa withdrew from the remainder of the US Grand Prix weekend on Saturday morning. The Spanish rider was still in too much pain from injuries sustained at last weekend's German Grand Prix.

Pedrosa had been leading the wet Sachsenring race by over seven seconds when he fell at high speed, fracturing the left index finger and the big bone of the left wrist and spraining his right ankle.

The accident also cost the Repsol Honda rider the world championship lead by 16 points to Valentino Rossi, but he flew to America hoping to be able to race.

On Friday he rode nine consecutive laps, and finished the day in 15th position, but the pain was too much and he said he wouldn't be able to last the full 32-lap race distance. Bridgestone's domination of the event so far may also have played a part in his decision.

"This has been a very difficult decision to take, but there really is no alternative," declared Dani. "Yesterday I struggled a lot. I rode in the morning using only painkilling pills and the pain was incredible, so I had an anti-pain infiltration before the afternoon session. Despite that, I still had a lot of pain. I did a nine lap run and it felt like 40 laps.

"When I woke this morning I had a lot of pain and the fingers were very swollen. I knew that I couldn't finish the race in these conditions," he revealed. "To face 32 laps would have been impossible, especially since this track is very physically demanding, with many uphill and downhill sections and many left-handers which demand a lot of effort from the left hand and arm.

"At least I tried - if I had stayed at home I would never have known if I could have ridden. Now I have three weeks to recover and do all the necessary rehabilitation to be ready to race in Brno in the best-possible condition," he concluded.

"After the effort Dani made coming to the United States following the operation, it's a great pity that he cannot race," added team manager Kazuhiko Yamano. "Yesterday he tried but despite the pain in the hand and especially in the wrist he knew it would be very difficult to finish the race, despite taking more risks. We have appreciated Dani's strong will to come here and we all support him. Now the most important thing is that he recovers for Brno."

Reigning world champion Casey Stoner, fastest in all three free practice sessions at Laguna Seca, will start the US Grand Prix needing just four points to push Pedrosa back to third in the championship standings.

Pedrosa now has the summer break to get back to fitness before round twelve of 18, the Czech Republic Grand Prix, at Brno on August 17.

Pedrosa last missed a race at the end of the 2003 season, shortly after he had secured that year's 125cc World Championship, his first world title.