In breaking news from Phillip Island, Dani Pedrosa and Loris Capirossi have pulled out of Sunday’s IVECO Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Honda’s Spanish star Pedrosa has struggled all weekend as he recovers from a triple fracture to his collarbone sustained in Japan two weeks ago and has been trying to ride here with eight screws still in the plate which was inserted during surgery in Spain.
After missing last weekend’s Malaysian round he returned to the Australian field in order to try and protect the runner-up spot in the World Championship following Jorge Lorenzo’s title-winning fourth place at Sepang.
Pedrosa was 16th of the 17 riders in the opening free practice session on Friday, slipped back to 17th in the second session on Saturday morning and qualified 15th on Saturday afternoon – faster only than Capirossi and Ducati rider Hector Barbera, both of whom crashed out of the one-hour qualifying session.
Capirossi too is struggling with injury to his foot. The Italian Suzuki rider was 10th in the first session at the Island, slid back to 15th in this morning’s free practice and was 17th and last in qualifying after a spectacular over-the-handlebars crash about 13 minutes from the end.