“It is simply impossible for me to race”
Olivier Jacque will not race in his home Grand Prix at Le Mans, after complications with the arm injury sustained in a free practice crash ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix forced the Kawasaki pilot to withdraw from the event today.
Jacque suffered a major puncture wound in the crash, which caused a severe laceration and muscle damage to his right forearm. The 33-year-old Frenchman was initially treated at the circuit medical centre, before being airlifted to Shanghai's Huashan hospital for surgery to clean and close the wound.
On his return to Europe Jacque was examined in Barcelona by the renowned Doctor Mir, who discovered the onset of infection in the wound. As a result, the Kawasaki rider was admitted to hospital for a further three days, where he underwent a course of antibiotics to combat the infection.
As a result of the muscle damage sustained in the crash, and the stretching of the skin during surgery to close the laceration, Jacque is still suffering with a lack of mobility in his right arm and hand that can only be rectified with an intensive course of physiotherapy.
This lack of mobility in his throttle and brake hand means that the Kawasaki pilot is not physically capable of wrestling a MotoGP machine around the twists and turns of the Le Mans circuit that, with it's stop and go nature, is a physically demanding track for even a fully fit rider.
For this reason Jacque, on the advice of his doctors and after discussions with the Kawasaki Racing Team, reluctantly made the decision to withdraw from the Le Mans race. The former 250cc World Champion will not attend the French Grand Prix but will remain in Barcelona, where he will focus instead on regaining full fitness for the next race on the calendar, the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
“Obviously I'm bitterly disappointed that I've been forced to miss my home race, but the loss of mobility in my right arm means that it is simply impossible for me to race at Le Mans”, he explained.
“I damaged the muscles in my forearm in the crash, and the surgery to close the wound meant that the surrounding skin had to be stretched tight. As a result, I still can't fully extend my forearm and I won't be able to do so without some pretty intensive physiotherapy to stretch the skin and strengthen the. But, for the moment, the important thing is to ensure that we're beating the infection, which means daily trips to the hospital for the wound to be examined. Once the danger of infection has passed then I will start work on regaining full movement and strength in the injured arm, with the aim being to be fully fit again for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. It's a shame that this has happened now, because the bike has improved considerably since the start of the season and a good result at Le Mans was a real possibility. I hope that, when I return, my results will reflect just how much of an improvement has been made with the bike. I feel sorry for my team, but I am aiming to be back with them as soon as possible, and I wish them every success in France. I can only apologise to the French fans that were expecting to cheer on two French Kawasaki riders at Le Mans that I've been forced to pull out of the race, but I hope they'll all get behind Randy in my absence."
"Unfortunately, Olivier was left with no choice but to withdraw from the French Grand Prix at Le Mans once the full extent of his injuries became apparent. We're sorry for him, because he was well motivated for his home race, but the lack of strength and mobility in his injured arm means that it is impossible for him to race in France this weekend”, added Kawasaki Communications Manager Ian Wheeler. “Hopefully, with the help of Doctor Mir, the infection of the injury site will be contained and Olivier will be able to start working with his physiotherapist to rebuild the strength and movement in the arm. If everything goes to plan, then we expect to see Olivier back on the Ninja ZX-RR for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. As Olivier will miss only one race there is no obligation for Kawasaki to field a replacement rider, although the possibility of running a second rider alongside Randy de Puniet will be discussed internally, with an announcement likely later this week."