News 23 Feb 2018

Top grand prix riders sidelined for Argentine opener

Early casualties confirmed by Honda and Yamaha in the lead-up.

Image: Supplied.

Team HRC’s Tim Gajser will miss the opening event of the 2018 MXGP season in Argentina as a result of the jaw injury suffered in the final round of the Italian championship at Mantova.

With team-mate Brian Bogers still on his way to full recovery, the sole standard bearer of the team at Neuquen will be Calvin Vlaanderen aboard his Honda CRF250RW machine in the MX2 class.

After undergoing a successful surgery on Sunday evening, Gajser checked out of the hospital the following day and was transported via ambulance to his native Slovenia, where he had another operation to further stabilise the fractured jaw.

“All things considered, I can say that I’ve been quite lucky,” Gajser said. “I slid with my right leg before going for a jump and that caused me to inadvertently open the throttle and that’s why I over-jumped. I landed basically at the base of the following jump and hit my face hard on the handlebar.

“I want to look at the bright side because it could have been much worse and I’ll be back sooner rather than later. I would like to thank the doctors and medical staff who took care of me, the team that stayed by my side and the fans and everyone who was seriously concerned about my well-being. I’ll soon get a smile back on my face.”

With the recovery time estimated at three weeks and a mandatory rest for the two-time world champion, Gajser will target a possible return to action at the MXGP of Europe at Valkenswaard.

Wilvo Yamaha’s Arnaud Tonus will also miss the start of the grand prix season due to a shoulder injury. Tonus dislocated his shoulder at the Masters of Motocross International, which took place in LaCapelle-Marival, France, last weekend.

The Swiss rider received medical attention at the circuit before returning to Switzerland where a specialist at the Hirslanden Hospital in Geneva assessed his shoulder. Following expert medical advice, Tonus underwent surgery to re-construct the shoulder on Tuesday.