Stefan Bradl is to replace Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda at the next round of MotoGP at Sepang, a week from today. As HRC's official test rider, Bradl was the easy choice to take the place of the injured Crutchlow.
Crutchlow was ruled out of Sunday's Australian Grand Prix after a huge crash at Turn 1 during FP2 on Friday. His right leg took a beating in the fall, fracturing his ankle in three places. Crutchlow was flown to Melbourne, where an external cage was placed on his ankle to fix the bones in place while the swelling subsides. Crutchlow is due for further surgery on Thursday to have the bones plated.
That rules Crutchlow out of the race at Sepang, and makes him doubtful for the Valencia race in three weeks' time. A decision on Valencia will not be made until much nearer the event, but it is conceivable that Crutchlow will decide to sit out the race, and focus on being fit for the last test of the year at Jerez at the end of November.
Stefan Bradl will take the place of Cal Crutchlow in the LCR Honda team at Sepang, and if the Englishman is not fit to race at Valencia, then at the final race as well. Bradl would have been present at Valencia anyway, both because of TV duties with the Austrian Servus TV, and for the first post-season test at Valencia on the Tuesday and Wednesday after the race.
There is some small irony in Bradl being drafted in to replace Crutchlow at LCR. Crutchlow took the place of the German in the LCR Honda team at the end of the 2014, when team boss Lucio Cecchinello decided to gamble on the Englishman, rather than continue with Bradl.
Below are two press releases from the LCR Honda squad, giving some detail on Crutchlow's injury, and announcing Stefan Bradl as his replacement.
MEDICAL UPDATE ON LCR HONDA CASTROL RIDER CAL CRUTCHLOW
PRESS RELEASE: 28 October 2018 | Medical Report
The LCR Honda CASTROL Team can provide an update on the condition of Cal Crutchlow who suffered an ankle injury at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday. The Briton rider crashed out at the first corner of the Phillip Island circuit, sustaining damage that ruled him out of the remainder of the MotoGP event.
Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Team Principal): “Cal arrived at Alfred Hospital by helicopter very quickly after the crash and his initial treatment in the medical centre at the race track. We are very grateful for this because, despite his serious injury, it was not compulsory, but everyone was very keen for him to be taken to hospital by helicopter”.
“Once he arrived, he had a full body scan which confirmed that the only part of his body injured in the crash was his right ankle. The fracture he sustained to it involved both the ankle malleolus and distal tibia. Dr. Lazarus and the surgery team led by Dr. Edwards – who successfully operated on the right ankle of Dani Pedrosa many years ago – carried out a first procedure which was a fracture reduction and alignment and external fixation with the use of a cage”.
“This first surgery took 45 minutes and was simply to put the bone back into the perfect position for a second operation. That will take place on Wednesday or Thursday once the swelling to the ankle has gone down and will most likely involve inserting three small plates to keep the bone in place and guarantee the best possible recovery”.
“The plan is that he will then be discharged three days after the second operation, which is next weekend. We will be in Malaysia at that time, so Cal will fly home instead and try to recover as quickly as possible. He will be able to start physiotherapy two weeks after the surgery to try and get himself fit as quickly as he can.”
HRC TEST RIDER STEFAN BRADL TO RIDE FOR LCR HONDA AT MALAYSIAN GP
PRESS RELEASE: 28 October 2018 | Official Announcement
Following LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow’s injury at Phillip Island, the LCR Honda Team has confirmed that HRC Test rider Stefan Bradl will replace the Briton at the Sepang Grand Prix. Crutchlow – who headed to Australia in great form after his second place at Motegi – suffered a fracture to his right ankle and distal tibia after a heavy fall at the famous coastal circuit on Friday and won’t be able to participate to the Malaysian GP next week.
Stefan Bradl (HRC Test Rider): “First of all I want to say it’s a great pity for Cal because he was in good form after the podium in Japan and the last few races. I hope he has a speedy recovery. It’s a good opportunity for me, it’s a nice comeback (to the LCR Team) as we had three years together and there are a lot of people I know in the team. I also want to thank HRC and Lucio for reacting so quickly and professionally to this situation. Now let’s see what we can do, I’m looking forward to seeing the guys and working with them again.”
Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Team Principal): “Obviously we are very disappointed about Cal’s crash in Friday’s FP2 session and the resulting fracture of the right ankle. But this is part of racing and we must accept if even if we do not like it. Cal’s orthopaedic problem will be successfully fixed in few weeks. The whole team wish him a very speed recovery and in the meantime we move to Malaysia for the penultimate round of the season with another LCR former racer. Stefan Bradl raced in LCR colours for three years in the premier class (2012, 2013 and 2014) and we know all about his remarkable skills and undeniable talent. We are happy to be back in the garage together”.