Pol Espargaro will have to push back his eagerly awaited MotoGP return having run into further complications with his fractured vertebrae ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
The GasGas pilot has been absent from the premier class field since sustaining fractured vertebrae and a broken jaw in practice for the season opening Portuguese GP back in March, the Spaniard having been replaced by KTM test rider Jonas Folger since the third round of the year at the Circuit of the Americas.
The German will continue to deputise for Espargaro for at least this weekend’s outing at Mugello in Italy as Espargaro undergoes further treatment for an edema – essentially excessive tissue swelling – around his broken vertebrae according to the GasGas squad, though he is still keen to make a return to competition ‘in the coming weeks’ according to a statement released on Monday morning.
“I was really looking forward to getting back on my bike but, as I said from the beginning, the final decision would be made for me by the doctors and they asked me to wait a few more days,” said Espargaro.
“My original plan was to return for one of these next three races before the summer break and this continues to be the idea.
“The most important thing is to be physically ready, and this call means I have a few more days to keep working at home and arrive in the best form possible and as soon as possible.
“I’m feeling really good and I’m really motivated. I hope to see the team and everyone in the sport, and for sure the fans, as soon as I can.”
Folger has thus far struggled to get up to speed in his return to MotoGP on the GasGas-branded KTM machine, though he has at least managed to bring the bike home to secure points in two of the three encounters he has run so far – a best result of 12th coming at COTA.
The GasGas Tech 3 operation currently sits ninth of the 11 outfits in the teams standings following the opening five rounds largely thanks to the efforts of ever-improving rookie Augusto Fernandez, who has secured two top ten results so far – including a stunning run to fourth in last month’s French GP at Le Mans.