David C. Schilke, International Editor
2006 MotoGP World Champion suffered broken ribs after contact with another practice rider
Bad news for Nicky Hayden fans as the Ducati rider endured another injury during training Tuesday, December 27th. It was the Kentucky Kid’s first attempt at getting back on a bike since sustaining a broken wrist from the pile up at turn one during the season finale at Valencia. Finally cleared to ride this week, Hayden was on a private flat track when he had an accident that left him with a fractured left scapula (shoulder blade) along with two broken ribs.
According to the Ducati team Hayden will forgo surgery for now but it will be a touch and go recovery that may keep him from taking part in the first testing session scheduled in Malaysia at the end of January.
“Obviously, injuries are never good,” Hayden said in the Ducati press release, “but it’s part of motorcycle racing. Just like at Valencia, it was kind of a freak accident. I was starting to train again, like I normally do during the winter, at a private track near my house. I came up behind another rider, and he went to move out of the way. I wasn’t going that fast, but he clipped my front wheel and I went down and landed pretty hard on my left shoulder, and that was it. It’s disappointing, but there’s nothing to do about it but heal quickly. Anyway, this doesn’t change my expectations for 2012 which, fortunately, is just around the corner.”
Hayden had already missed testing the new 1000cc bike after the 2011 season closed, and now faces a double heaping of setback if he is not cleared in time for Malaysia. As the Ducati develops Hayden will miss a key chance of setup and providing feedback to the team for development. As Valentino Rossi puts more laps on the new bike the gap between teammates will surely widen. With both riders having earned the MotoGP championship the competition between teammates will be an important element to help Ducati take on their rivals in the Honda and Yamaha camps.
With luck on his side Hayden still has a shot of starting his 2012 season in good strength but the American will have to make sure further complications to his recovery can be avoided. We wish him the best and hope the New Year is more favorable to the Kentucky Kid.