After only one round of the 2023 MotoGP championship we’ve already had the most punishing weekend for riders in a very long time, with only 18 of the 22 racers who started last weekend at Portimao making the back-to-back trip this coming week to Argentina’s Termas de Rio Hondo circuit – a remarkable 18% deletion after only a single round of the championship.
Of the four riders out, Tech3 Gas Gas rider Pol Espargaro is by far the most hurt. Impacting a wall during FP2, he’s been left with multiple broken vertebrae and a fractured jaw – injuries that, according to initial reports, look set to rule the Spaniard out not for weeks but for months.
Then there’s new factory Ducati signing and pre-season championship contender Enea Bastianini, whose title aspirations might already be gone after contact with Luca Marini during Saturday’s sprint race resulted in him going down hard, fracturing a collarbone. He will miss Argentina, but Ducati announced on Tuesday that he would not require and is targeting a return for round three at the Circuit of the Americas – where he of course took a stunning victory in 2022.
Marc Marquez and Miguel Oliveira are the remaining two, both injured in Marquez’s overly aggressive lunge on Oliveira and Jorge Martin during Sunday’s main race. Marquez has already had surgery to install two screws into his thumb, while Oliveira, escaping without any broken bones, suffered extensive ligament damage that could take even longer to heal up.
Beyond the four who won’t start this coming weekend, Martin is riding with a broken toe from the Marquez incident, while Raul Fernandez will seek medical treatment after Termas for numbness in his arm after his own crash during Sunday’s race.