Pol Espargaro has spoken his first words in public almost six weeks on from sustaining a litany of injuries - including a broken jaw and fractured vertebrae - in an accident during the 2023 MotoGP World Championship opener at Portimao.
The Spaniard was embarking on his first event back with the KTM-supported GasGas Tech 3 Racing team after two years spent with Repsol Honda when he crashed during Practice 2 at the Portuguese circuit.
Landing heavily following a high-side before striking the barrier, Espargaro needed specialist medical attention at the track before being taken to hospital, where doctors confirmed he’d suffered eight fractures in his body, including his ribs, neck and back.
He also sustained a broken jaw, which required surgery to remove teeth before doctors fixed a brace in place. It meant Espargaro was forced to live with his mouth being wired completely shut for four gruelling weeks.
Unable to eat, smile or communicate properly, Espargaro spoke of his relief at being able to speak again in a video posted to his Instagram channel.
“Hi everyone! Finally I’m back on social media. It’s been a month and week after the crash and I can talk a little bit, I’m saying that because I broke my jaw in two places, I’ve been with my jaw completely closed for four weeks after the crash, I couldn’t eat, I lost a lot of weight, but finally I can smile and I can talk quite good so that’s why I making this message.”
Despite the extreme measures necessitated by his broken jaw, it is the back injury that presents the more complex ailment with a recuperation period of several months anticipated by doctors.
“ I had an injury in my ear that had surgery after the crash, I had eight fractures in my body, two in my ribs, one in my neck, three in my back which I think are taking a little bit longer because the fractures in my back are the ones the doctors are still checking a little bit deeply. One is better but I’ve lost half of the size.
“So you know what happens when you play with these kind of injuries, in the vertebrae you need to be really careful because it’s super easy to injure your spinal cord, so we are working with the doctors hand by hand to come back as soon as possible, but first of all I need to come back healthy, but I’m the first one that wants to jump on the bike.
“Especially after the results in Jerez, the factory is working huge and the bike is a rocket right now so I’m looking forward to it.”