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MotoGP Portimao: Espargaro suffers ‘severe spinal trauma', no fear of paralysis

Pol Espargaro has suffered a ‘severe spinal trauma and contusion to his lungs’ following a serious accident during P2 for the opening round of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship at Portimao.

The Spaniard lost the rear of his GasGas Tech3 RC16 coming into the downhill Turn 10 right-hander, flicking him into a high-side. Landing in front of his machine, the bike proceeded to push him through the gravel trap towards the barrier.

Though action replays didn’t catch the final moments of the incident, namely whether he was forced into the barriers with the bike following behind him, the injuries sustained were serious enough to require almost half an hour for medical staff to transfer him to the circuit’s medical centre.

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Having since been taken to Faro hospital for further examination, an update from MotoGP Medical Director Dr Angel Chartre confirmed he had suffered trauma to his spine and lungs, but added he ‘could move his feet, legs and arms perfectly well’ with no fears for permanent damage.

“Pol Espargaró has had a high-intensity crash and suffered multiple traumas. To determine the extent, he will need to be evaluated via further examination at Faro hospital, specifically his spine,” Dr. Charte said.

“His oxygen levels are good, but he has quite a significant lung contusion, the extent of which we will need to confirm with CT scans and MRIs at Faro hospital.”

“He has suffered severe spinal trauma and a contusion to his lungs which we will have to monitor closely. Although I think he will recover well, we need to conduct the appropriate tests to determine the extent of his injuries.”

Dr Chartre also communicated that he had remained conscious throughout and was fine neurologically.

“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.”

It was later confirmed the number 44 had suffered a pulmonary contusion, jaw fracture and a fractured dorsal vertebra.

With Espargaro set to sit out this weekend’s 2023 opener, GasGas - which is making its MotoGP debut this weekend, albeit not as a fully-fledged constructor able to score points - will be relying on just the sole remaining entry of Augusto Fernandez.

The only rider to be making his MotoGP debut this weekend, the Moto2 World Champion was the second best-placed RC16 rider in 16th.

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