Cal Crutchlow targets February MotoGP tests comeback from injury

Cal Crutchlow has targeted being fit for MotoGP’s February 2019 tests, having admitted he originally hoped to race this weekend despite his injury needing a 12-month recovery period for civilians.

The LCR Honda rider broke his right ankle in a crash in Friday afternoon practice for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island last month.

He had an initial operation to stabilise the injury, but full surgery had to wait until swelling had decreased.

Although it was immediately clear that the injury was likely to end his 2018 season, Crutchlow said he had initially hoped he might be back for the season finale at Valencia this weekend and subsequent tests.

“The injury I have can take a recovery time of up to 12 months and, although as a typical motorcycle racer I thought I would be back in time for the Valencia GP, unfortunately this is not the case,” he said.

“I can’t put any weight on my ankle for six weeks, but am continuing to recover and having physiotherapy.

“This week I will start to try and cycle again and look forward to preparing for Sepang [testing] in February 2019.”

Honda test rider Stefan Bradl will again deputise for Crutchlow at Valencia.

Crutchlow had to spend 12 days in hospital in Melbourne following his accident, with LCR team manager Lucio Cecchinello staying with him until travelling to the subsequent Malaysian GP.

“I had excellent surgeons in Matthias Russ and Dr Evans who initially put an external fixator on my leg until the swelling went down and they could operate, which was six days later,” Crutchlow added.

“The crash resulted in a Pilon fracture of my tibia, fibia and talus bone. “The surgery was completed in three and a half hours and, along with reconstruction with artificial bone, two metal plates and eight screws were inserted.”

Prior to his crash, Crutchlow had been fifth in the championship and the leading non-factory-team rider.

He is still seventh in the standings, and new best-non-works rider Johann Zarco of Tech3 Yamaha is just one point ahead of him.

MotoGP has two post-season tests this year – at Valencia following this week’s GP and at Jerez a week later.

The Sepang 2019 tests Crutchlow is aiming for begin on February 1-3 next year.

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