Yamaha has announced that Dylan Ferrandis will not be racing this weekend at Pala for the opening round of the 2022 AMA Pro Motocross series. 

Ferrandis, the 2021 450MX champion with Star Yamaha, was due to come into the season strongly after sacrificing the end of his Supercross season to focus on defending his 450MX crown. 

However, a crash earlier this week on Tuesday - at the press day in Pala ahead of this weekend’s race - has left the Frenchman with a ligament tear in his left thumb. Ferrandis is therefore unable to ride this weekend, and will go for surgery instead. There is currently no date set for Ferrandis’ return.

“Unfortunately, I had a small crash Tuesday, and I hurt my left thumb,” said Ferrandis in a press release from Yamaha. “I thought it was a minor sprain, but the medical exam showed a broken ligament with the Stenner effect, which means it will never recover without surgery.”

Ferrandis’ initial plan was to ride on Saturday, but the damage to his ligament necessitates surgery. “I wanted to try to ride Saturday, but without surgery, in a few weeks, the ligament can die, and the damage can be irreversible. We decided with the team to go for the surgery now to have me back at my full physical capacity, but that means I will miss the beginning of the motocross season.”

Ferrandis added that “Not being able to defend the championship that I won last year and put the No. 1 plate where it belongs, I am at the saddest point of my career. I’ve worked so hard and have invested everything to win this championship again, I have a broken heart for my sponsors and the people that help me; this sport is so ruthless.”

Jeremy Coker, Team Manager for Star Racing Yamaha, said: “I am extremely gutted for Dylan. He has worked so hard to be prepared for the Pro Motocross season. It is heartbreaking for both him and the team to have his title defence ripped away from him like this, but we know he will rebound even stronger and be ready to win races and championships.”

The Pro Motocross season will begin Saturday 28 May at Pala in California, and without defending champion Ferrandis, Star Racing Yamaha will be relying on 2022 450SX Supercross champion Eli Tomac - himself still somewhat in recovery from a knee injury picked up towards the end of Supercross - and 2022 250SX West champion Christian Craig to defend their colours in the premier class.