Joan Mir's big highside on the first lap of the Austrian Grand Prix has had severe consequences for the Suzuki rider. Mir was initially diagnosed with a small fracture of his right heel, but further examination undertaken once he returned home revealed further damage. Mir suffered damage to the ligaments in his right ankle, and further fracture of the heel bone, including at the head of the heel bone where it meets the tibia and fibia bones in the leg.
Mir has been advised to take complete rest and to avoid putting weight on it for the next 15 days, to allow the heel to recover. That means he will not be fit to compete at the next MotoGP round in Misano.
This leaves the Suzuki Ecstar team with a problem. Normally, Mir's place would be taken by Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli, but the Frenchman is recovering from a hand injury picked up during practice for the Suzuka 8 Hours race, held on the same weekend as Silverstone. Suzuki's other test rider, Takuya Tsuda, has only competed in one MotoGP race back in 2017, and is focused more on durability testing than outright performance.
Here is where Suzuki's lack of interest in racing generally causes them problems. With no entry in WorldSBK, there are no obvious candidates to take over the ride. There have been rumors of various riders stepping into the seat - including the improbable sight of Danilo Petrucci, currently racing a Ducati in MotoAmerica. Petrucci eventually turned down the seat, according to GPOne.com, after discussions with Ducati revealed knotty contractual obligations. Axel Bassani, currently racing a MotoCorsa Ducati in WorldSBK, is another name being linked to replacing Mir.
Any replacement rider has to be approved by the selection committee, however. It is entirely possible that the selection committee - consisting of representatives from IRTA and Dorna - decide it is better to allow Suzuki to appear at Misano with just one rider.
The press release from Suzuki appears below:
INJURED MIR FORCED TO MISS THE FORTHCOMING MISANO GP
Team Suzuki Press Office – August 23.
The latest tests show bone and ligament damage to his right ankle that will force the rider to rest for at least the next 15 days.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir suffered a terrifying crash on the opening lap of the Austrian Grand Prix last Sunday at the Red Bull Ring circuit. The first tests and X-rays performed at the circuit medical centre directly after the crash revealed a small fracture in the talus bone of his right ankle. Having returned home on Sunday night, the Mallorcan underwent further tests in Andorra.
Yesterday he visited Dr. Juan Garcías at Hospital Juaneda Miramar in Palma de Mallorca where he underwent a CT scan and an extra MRI as the doctors wanted to rule out bone damage to the left talus head as well as the right. Despite issuing a more encouraging diagnosis than expected, Doctor Juan Garcías found ligament and bone damage on the right side and he recommended caution, advising Mir to take absolute rest for the next 15 days. This means Joan will not be able to race in Misano.
“The patient had an injury to the talocalcaneal ligaments with a small bone avulsion. A stable tibiofibular joint, but with bone contusion on the head of the talus. In this case, the tibiofibular joint was stable and there was no total instability in the navicular bone. Conclusion: talus-calcaneal-navicular ligamentous injuries with instability grade I – II”
Mir will undergo another round of scans to assess the injuries following his 15 day rest period, in order to determine the course of treatment and, if eligible, to try riding at Motorland for the Grand Prix of Aragon.
In the forthcoming days Suzuki and Dorna will evaluate the best solution for Misano.
“After undergoing several tests, the doctors have advised me to take 15 days’ rest and another evaluation after that period. Unfortunately, I will miss the Misano race, but I am confident I can return in Aragon. I want to thank Dainese and AGV for protecting me and avoiding a more serious injury after the hard crash I had on Sunday. It's been a tough season, but I'm convinced that we'll come back stronger to bring more good moments to my team and to all of you who support me".
Livio Suppo - Team Manager:
“I’m very sorry for Joan. Problems continue to arise during this difficult season. In any case, we should remain upbeat. The crash was really big and in the end the injury is a serious one, but it could have been worse, so let's be positive and see how he will recover in the next 15 days to hopefully be ready for Aragón".