Jorge Lorenzo has undergone successful surgery on the injured left wrist which has forced him to miss the Thailand and Japanese MotoGP races, and is eyeing a return next weekend in Malaysia.
Lorenzo suffered what was initially thought to be a hairline fracture on his left wrist when he was ejected from his Ducati due to a mechanical issue during FP2 of the Thailand Grand Prix weekend three weeks ago.
The Spaniard, who had already been carrying a foot injury from a crash at Aragon, opted to sit out the Buriram race in order to heal up enough to participate in the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend.
However, when he arrived to Japan he underwent further scans on his wrist which revealed a complete fracture, and he subsequently pulled out of the remainder of the Motegi weekend after completing just one lap in FP1.
Ducati soon confirmed Lorenzo would be absent from this week's Australian Grand Prix in order to return to Spain for treatment.
Lorenzo underwent a keyhole operation on Tuesday to fix a rupture on the dorsal side of left scapholunate ligament, and has now returned to his home to recover, with the hope he will be able to return to action at Sepang.
Lorenzo's place at the works Ducati squad for Phillip Island will be taken by Nieto's Alvaro Bautista, who will become a factory Ducati rider in the World Superbike Championship next year.
It is unclear, should Lorenzo miss the Malaysian race, if Bautista will continue to deputise at Sepang, as Ducati test rider Michele Pirro was unavailable due to a testing commitment this weekend.
At the Nieto team, 2015 Australian Superbike champion and former Avintia MotoGP stand-in Mike Jones will take Bautista's place at Phillip Island, riding the two-year old GP16s Karel Abraham will vacate in order to ride Bautista's GP17s.
Lorenzo's absence from recent events has seen him slip to eighth in the championship standings on 130 points, and is at risk of dropping to 10th this weekend should Suzuki duo Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone – placed directly behind him in the standings – score 12 and 17 points respectively.