Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa has withdrawn from his home Grand Prix at Catalunya, effectively ending his World Championship hopes as the MotoGP World Championship enters its most intense stretch of the year.Pedrosa suffered a broken right collarbone in a racing incident with San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans 17 days ago. The Spaniard had surgery in France to stabilize the fracture and was hopeful that the two weekends break between races would be enough to allow the collarbone to heal. But this morning he made the painful decision to sit out the race at the track not far from his home in Sabadell where he’s had considerable success. Pedrosa has three wins and seven podiums over all three classes at the circuit in Montmelo.”After France, I had surgery to stabilize the fracture of my right collarbone and hoped to be ready for Barcelona,” Pedrosa said. “I pushed myself as best as I could but I feel that my collarbone is not yet ready. I think I must rest for a while and recover properly. Since early this year I’ve had many problems and operations and I really believe I must stop now and let this heal properly. I would love to be in Montmeló with all the fans that follow me but for me if I’m on track, I’m there to fight for victory and offer them a good race. I feel that is not possible at the moment and therefore the most sensible thing is not to compete.”Pedrosa crashed in Le Mans when San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli took out his front wheel making a pass for second place on the 18th of 28 laps. After reviewing the incident, race direction assessed Simoncelli a ridethrough penalty. And earlier this week it was announced that he would meet with race direction prior to this weekend’s race in Catalunya.Simoncelli, who has full factory support from Honda, admitted his mistake and acknowledged that he wouldn’t be the most popular rider in Spain.
“I have had time over the two-week break to think about the race at Le Mans,” he said. “I am still disappointed with what happened to Dani and I hope that he has recovered from his injury in time for this weekend.”I am also disappointed because Honda were unable to celebrate having four bikes in the top four positions at the French Grand Prix. Overall on reflection I have realized where I have gone wrong and in the future I will try at certain times to evaluate the situation better and be a little more cautious.”I know that I’m probably not going to get a standing ovation at Barcelona but I hope that if I am criticized it is done in a civilized manner and not in the way that has happened in other sports in the past. In any case I just want to put the controversy behind me and get out there on my bike and start working towards a race that I am sure the team and I have the potential to do well in.”Pedrosa’s right collarbone injury came on top of a left collarbone that was also operated on this year. But the left collarbone, which was originally broken last October in Motegi, proved not to be an issue in Estoril, where Pedrosa stormed to his lone victory of the season over Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo.Pedrosa was third in the championship with 61 points to 78 for Lorenzo and 66 for Pedrosa’s teammate Casey Stoner. With six races in the next eight weeks, the injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Spaniard.”It is a big shame what happened,” Pedrosa said. “Despite all the problems I had earlier in the season, this year I felt very strong and I was aware that I could beat my opponents. I want to say thank you to you all for your support and hope to be back in full shape as soon as possible to continue giving my best.”