Alex De Angelis Injury Update - Still Critical, But Now Speaking

Alex De Angelis remains in hospital in Japan after his horrific crash during practice at Motegi. He suffered multiple injuries in the accident, including fractured vertebrae, broken ribs and contusions on the lung. He also took a severe blow to the head, rendering him unconscious. Though CT scans of his brain showed no initial damage, on Sunday, the Italian developed some intercranial bleeding, or bleeding in the brain. De Angelis was kept under sedation, to reduce the pain from his fractures, and to allow the doctors to stabilize his condition.

On Monday, Dorna issued an update on De Angelis' condition. So far, the intercranial bleeding is stable, a positive sign that it is under control, for the moment at least. The doctors were able to reduce his level of sedation, and De Angelis was able to speak to them, and tell them that he knew where he was and what day it was.

De Angelis is still being listed as in a critical condition, and is under constant monitoring in Dokkyo Hospital. The Italian is set to have more CT scans in the next couple of days to ensure the intercranial bleeding does not get worse. The contusion on his lungs is also being watched closely, as lung injuries can develop into serious respiratory problems and and cause infections. It usually takes three to five days for pulmonary contusions to be resolved and start to show signs of improvement.

While De Angelis is still in Dokkyo Hospital, Dr Michele Zasa of the Clinica Mobile is staying at the hospital with the Italian to help coordinate his treatment and monitor his situation. More news on De Angelis' condition will follow whenever we get it.

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I'd like to add my best wishes for a full recovery. Very nasty injuries.

Normally I have a signed helmet from Alex in front of my desk, but these days I put it away.... cannot bear to look at it.

I sincerely wish him a prompt recovery.

Just typing here gives me a chill....

Likewise, I wish him a good recovery. It's unfortunate that the sport we love results in these types of injury. I just wish for him to get into a better state and recover to a good level of personal health.

Odd in this day and age, that no video was captured of the incident. As a Safety professional, identifying root cause of the incident is important to ensure that a similar type incident couldn't happen again! I'm wondering if data will reveal what happened, although I understand Rossi might have seen what happened!?!?!

Speedy recovery to a hard charger!!!

Get well soon Alex!!!

an investigation into how the accident actually took place? There seems to be no explainations of it anywhere. To an outsider, all that can be speculated is that, Alex came out of the corner, somehow lost control and went across the track to crash onto guardrail. A crash that seems highly unlikely without contact from another rider. So is the track at fault? Can't dismiss it as a freak accident with almost no evidence to back it. So who are the people asking questions? And who are the ones that will have to answer. As of now... No one asks no one responds.

Anyway.. Best of my wishes to Alex for a speedy recovery... Get well soon...

Best wishes for a full recovery, And, let's see a full investigation. I'm thinking that Armco barrier is way to close to race surface even in a straight. Needs to be pushed back 50 feet and an air fence put up for hundreds of feet past any curve. Isn't this how the Japanese rider died several years ago, crashing into a wall on a "straight"? Freak accident just means rare. Here is a chance to make significant safety improvements. This is a purpose built motorcycle tract after all.

Sounds like you could be talking about Daijiro Kato at Suzuka around the start of the 990 era (second year of them?), which ultimatly led to Suzuka being removed from the calander.

For starters, Motegi wasn't built for bikes in the same vein as PI was built for bikes. Pretty sure it was as a Honda test track or something.

This, to my mind, is pretty normal knee jerk type stuff. There are close walls on every track around, if you try and impose this type of thing there will be tracks forced to shut down everywhere. This can't be taken in the same vein as people holding safety back many years ago, refusing to put any crash protection down and threatening the riders if they say they wont race for safety reasons. This is just common sense stuff IMO.
IIRC Kim Newcombe had asked officials to place haybales on a corner where the road dipped away, looked like a rather bad crash spot. Officials told him basically to sack up and threatened him with expulsion from the events. So he rode, and in one of the races, he crashed on that corner, and died. Shortly after, they put hay bales there, another rider crashed, and lived.
The problem is when there are close walls in areas that would be common for a crash. The issue with Suzuka being they physically can't push the walls back to come up to current FIM standards, so it was scratched.

These really are freak accidents as they go against the "normal" things that happen in a crash. So many tracks have walls alongside the inside of the corners, with no protection. Some of them are very close too, maybe a few meters of grass and then the steel fence.
It would be highly unlikely that a bike would ever actually hit that type of wall with a bad angle or decent impact, so they don't put gravel traps there, they don't put airfences around the walls.
They do put spectator stands up against those walls though, so a call to push the walls back would mean heaps of restructuring for a track. Because if you are saying that these freak crashes are to be catergorised as "normal" crashes, every single piece of wall on a track has to be seen as holding exactly the same threat to a rider, no questions. Be it on a straight or on the slowest hairpin on a track, they all need to be treated the same.

Nakano lost his rear tyre going down a straight at some huge speed maybe 10 years ago. All manner of things could have happened to fire him towards the walls either side of the straight. On one side was the pitlane, how on earth could you protect against that kind of thing?
I have no idea what the airfences are made of, but say they had those lining the walls of the pitlane and the straights, if a guy slides fast and at a shallow angle to it, would they "catch" the rider and put massive forces on his body, rather than glancing down a hard wall on the grass, relying on his protective gear to give him the cushioning?

Marco Simoncelli's fatal crash showed that bikes can take strange trajectories when control is lost. Exiting a right hand bend, he headed for the inside of the track at a 45 degree angle. Even without the collision with Edwards, there would have been bad consequences if a steel or concrete barrier had been located there. The same danger applied to Rossi, who was forced by the accident onto the inside grass run-off at speed.
S-bends also provide special perils, with the potential for tumbling/sliding bikes and riders re-entering the track - like almost happened in one of the races at Aragon.
I don't know what can be done - that's for the experts and riders to work out. Just saying.

His racing days are probably over but I hope his ability to have a good life is not. The crash itself must have been terrible for such bad injuries to occur.

The crash site also begs for questions unrelated to rider and bike.

That steel barrier which is probably what he crashed into does not seem like it meets the 2015 FIM Standards for Road Racing Circuits (SRRC) in terms of track homologation for protection devices listed in Page 19, Article 4.10.1.ür-Strecken-2015.pdf


Am I looking at this correctly? If so, just wondering why this is not being brought up in light of the crash site. Thanks.

Seems to be the section for the main protection devices. It also talks about having tarmac runoff or gravel traps too.
The section just above that mentions the requirements for that sort of protection, where it mentions track layout, speeds reached at that section of track, racing trajectories, etc.

MB, we most likely agree more than you think.

I am a land surveyor and back in college I did take some highway design classes. Highway design, much like race track design, is all about cost analysis and minimizing danger/risk.

That is why I feel there should be an investigation. A professional track designer/engineer should review the crash and how it happened, what the speeds and trajectories are, and what could be done to mitigate the injury to the racer. Then look at how much that mitigation costs v. what a valuation of the likely injury or potential death costs. That is how value engineering is pretty much done.

When I saw the few scenes of the crash shown on the MotoGP feed, it just looked to me like that hard barrier was both closer to the race pavement than I see in most places and on most tracks, and the barrier did not look like a nice smooth K-rail but actually looked like if might have things like bolts sticking out some which could be very dangerous.

Oddly, in a straight section of track, I could see where it may be possible that bringing the wall closer to the race line could be safer in the sense that it might give the rider/bike less room to change direction and hit the wall in a harder angle. As you say, sliding down along the wall should theoretically be safe (bolt heads notwithstanding).

But all of this is speculation. I just hope that each serious accident like this is used to further safety engineering at all tracks and make the sport as safe as it is financially sound to do so.

Bang on, I'm sure there will be an investigation and talks with the safety commission, and as you say, that should happen after any serious crash.
I interpreted that as meaning all walls on the tracks, no matter where they are, as a rider could hit any of them. That section where he ended up looked like the setup and braking zone for the next corner, so goodness knows what went on there.

"I just hope that each serious accident like this is used to further safety engineering at all tracks and make the sport as safe as it is financially sound to do so."
^Exactly, I'm sure we all want to see that.

Hope he makes a full recovery, feared the worst for a while.

Unprotected armco aside, the bigger scandal is allowing morning warm-up to run without helicopter cover.

I'm curious 2 years ago event organizers made it an point to NOT start the event until they were able to guarantee helicopter flights into and out of the venue in case of an emergency like De Angelis. I know that the commentary during race day suggested that police + upgraded medical facilities now allowed the race to start without helicopter flight being possible. But that seemed like a decision that the show must go on. Difference from the event two years ago being pressure on race day vs pressure for qualifying.

Do you have any insight to exactly how they thought they would have coped with a second accident similar to De Angelis that required immediate emergency care? Or were they gambling on the unlikely hood of two such events occurring on one weekend? How far away is the hospital and how fast could a police escort get the rider there in case of a life threatening injury?

Poor PR then, because the way it played out during the broadcast was the TV schedule was dictating the safety margins allowed. I would be curious though as to the pressure the Dr's were under to FIND an acceptable solution.

If anything I'm glad De Angelis accident didn't occur on race day to 'TEST OUT' just how viable the 2nd option was.