Pol Espargaro injured in Portuguese MotoGP crash

MotoGP race at Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit on Lombok Island
Repsol Honda Team's Pol Espargaro sits during a news conference prior to the MotoGP race at Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit on Lombok Island, Indonesia, March 17, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

March 24 (Reuters) - Spanish MotoGP rider Pol Espargaro suffered jaw, back and lung injuries after a heavy crash in practice for the season-opening race at Portugal's Portimao circuit on Friday.

MotoGP said in a medical update that the 31-year-old GasGas Factory Racing Tech3 rider had a pulmonary contusion, jaw fracture and a fractured dorsal vertebra.

Espargaro, who was conscious after the crash, was flown to hospital in the southern city of Faro.

MotoGP medical director Angel Charte said the rider had multiple traumas but was fine neurologically, with no neck injuries.

"He is conscious, alert, and responding well. He is slightly sedated due to the painkillers we have administered. He can move his feet, legs, and arms perfectly well, so there is no reason to fear any permanent spinal injury," he added.

Espargaro, whose older brother Aleix rides for the Aprilia Racing team, was thrown off his bike and bounced over the gravel into the barrier in the second session.

The accident halted the track action and Espargaro received medical attention at the scene before being taken to the medical centre.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Prith Sarkar and Ken Ferris

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