Kawasaki's Alex Hofmann will be forced to sit out the next two Grand Prix races in China and France as a result of the injuries sustained when he was highsided from his Ninja ZX-RR during a promotional event ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old German rider was diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid in his left wrist immediately after the crash, but a further medical examination at the renowned Klinikum Rechts Der Isar near Munich on Monday uncovered additional damage to the joint, forcing Hofmann to re-evaluate his recovery schedule.
In addition to the fractured scaphoid, Hofmann also suffered a hairline fracture to the bottom of the Ulna, one of the two bones that run between the elbow and the wrist, and soft tissue damage to his ankle. Doctors are also concerned about the possibility of ligament damage around the injured joints.
Hofmann will undergo exploratory surgery on Tuesday, under the direction of hand injury specialist Doctor Werber. The extent of the scaphoid fracture and associated ligament damage will be assessed during the operation, and a decision will be made as to whether additional surgery would speed Hofmann's return to full fitness.
The main problem Hofmann faces in his fight back to fitness is not the fractured scaphoid, but rather the damaged Ulna. Because of the location of the fracture it is not possible to pin the bone, and the former European 250cc Champion must accept a recovery period of four to five weeks before attempting to make his racing return.
Discussions about a possible replacement for the injured Hofmann are currently ongoing between the Kawasaki Racing Team and Kawasaki in Japan, with an announcement expected before the team depart for the next round of the MotoGP World Championship in China.
"I really didn't think it could get any worse, but every day since the crash it has. Initially I thought I'd only fractured the scaphoid and that an operation would allow me to be back on the bike after a relatively short recovery period. But today's medical examination also discovered a small fracture in my ulna and, because it's not possible for it to be pinned, it means that I'm going to be out of action for at least four weeks while it heals naturally."
"Although it's hard, I have to accept the fact that I'm not going to be able to race in Shanghai or Le Mans, but I'm determined to be back in action for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. I think this is a realistic aim, although I am a little concerned about the doctors finding additional damage to my wrist and ankle when they assess the injuries during surgery tomorrow morning."
Harald Eckl: Team Manager
"I spoke to Alex after his examination today and, obviously, he's very frustrated about the fact that he'll miss the next two races as a result of his injuries. It's unfortunate that the fracture to his ulna can only be treated by conventional means, because this will increase his recovery time. But I know he will spend the next few weeks working hard to ensure he's fit to return for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, as this is one of his favourite circuits. Everyone in the team wishes him a speedy recovery, and we're looking forward to having him back with us at Mugello."