Neukirchner Fractures Vertebrae At Imola Test

Max Neukirchner started the 2009 World Superbike season full of hope, and widely tipped as a potential title candidate. But 2009 has been uncommonly cruel to the Alstare Suzuki rider, and his season has been plagued by injury. A horrific first-corner pile up at the Monza round in May saw the German break bones all the way down his leg, and after a lengthy recovery, Neukirchner made a return to riding at the official Imola World Superbike test this week. 

His return was not to be long-lived. Neukirchner crashed heavily on just the second day of testing, losing control of his Brux Alstare Suzuki as he exited the Tamburello corner and highsiding on to his back. Neukirchner was examined at the Clinica Mobile, then taken off to a local hospital for further examination. At first he thought he had escaped relatively uninjured, saying "that was a proper crash, but nothing like Monza." But X-rays revealed fractured vertebrae, further endangering his season.

According to the UK's Motorcycle News, Neukirchner's injuries mean that he will be out for either a month or for the rest of the year, depending on the treatment. Given that Neukirchner has already missed over half the season, it may make more sense for the German to have surgery to correct the problem fully, without risking further injury. But riders being riders, he is more likely to want to return to racing as soon as possible, and get back into racing rhythm.

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I feel bad for him!

I often wonder if crashes affect a racer the same as when a regular rider crashes (either on the track or street). I feel like I've just got my confidence back up again after a small drop in the wet about a couple of months ago.

Straight back from recovery and then 2nd day of testing sees him back at hospital! I guess maybe it is unavoidable to be a bit shaken when you've been in a big crash???

I'm a big rap for the good Max - I remember when he was bumped from the honda a couple of years ago so roadblock non-tryer Barros could get a ride - he was set to show up a few even that year. I would suggest he takes the rest or the year off to heal completely as the good Max is the real deal & should win the title in 2010 or 2011, depending on when Mr Spies goes to motoGP!