Eugene Laverty’s participation in the final two days of the official MotoGP pre-season test at Sepang is in doubt after the Aspar Ducati rider injured his wrist during a crash yesterday.
The Toomebridge rider was forced to jump off the Desmosedici GP14.2 at the Malaysian circuit due to an unspecified ‘mechanical problem’ on his 27th lap at turn four.
Initial reports suggested that Laverty had sustained a broken wrist, but it was later confirmed that the 29-year-old had escaped with tissue and ligament damage.
The news will come as a relief to Laverty, who has only recently fully recovered from a broken wrist he suffered during a crash in the post-season test last November at Valencia in Spain.
However, it remains to be seen whether or not the former World Superbike Championship runner-up will be able to continue testing today and tomorrow, with Laverty due to assess his condition on Tuesday morning.
“We’ve been for the X-ray and thankfully there is no fracture, just some tissue and ligament damage, which is a relief,” Laverty said.
“It’s just unbelievable that after spending the last couple of months recovering from a broken wrist we have this on the first day of the first test.
“It seems we had a mechanical problem and I had to jump off the bike under braking into turn four. It was a scary moment but quite lucky really because it could have been much worse.
“The bike went straight into the tyre wall at well over 100km/h so that wasn’t nice to see - I never like to see a bike destroyed,” he added.
“Overall it wasn’t a great day because we spent the morning with some electronic problems, the throttle stuck open and I was lucky not to crash on that occasion too.
“It meant the guys had to check things over and we lost some track time. Now I have to wait and see how the hand is tomorrow. Obviously I want to get back out there as soon as possible but we’ll have to wait and see when that is.”
Laverty is entering into his second season in motorcycling’s premier class with the Spanish-based team.
He rode an Open class Honda during his rookie season in 2015 alongside former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden.
American star Hayden has taken up a new challenge this season with the Ten Kate Honda team in World Superbikes, with Colombian Yonny Hernandez becoming Laverty’s new team-mate.
The Aspar team has switched to Ducati machinery for 2016 with Laverty and Hernandez using the GP14.2 version the Desmosedici.
In key changes to the championship regulations this year, all MotoGP riders will use a control electronics system, while Michelin has taken over from Bridgestone as the series’ official tyre supplier.
World champion Jorge Lorenzo led the way on Monday at Sepang on the Movistar Yamaha, lapping more than one second faster than team-mate Valentino Rossi.
Repsol Honda’ Dani Pedrosa was third quickest ahead of Danilo Petrucci on the Octo Pramac Ducati and factory Ducati rider Andrea Iannone.
Marc Marquez was seventh fastest on the second of the Repsol Honda machines, while British riders Scott Redding, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith were eighth, tenth and 15th respectively.
Double MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner will participate in the test today as a test rider for Ducati.
The opening race will be held in Qatar on March 20.