‘Nowadays, the tests on injured riders are stricter’
‘The teams are making more sensible decisions’ BRADLEY SMITH
“There is no magic to ride in these situations, just this…” says the often-injured Dani Pedrosa, grinding his teeth together. In other words, gritting your teeth is the only way.
And then there’s the pressure of keeping your ride. “Whatever team you’re riding for, if you say, ‘I can’t ride’, they’ll say, ‘OK, we’ll put someone else on the bike,’” explains Crutchlow. “So we all think: ‘I’ve got to race.’”
Bradley Smith disagrees, but then he rides for a well-financed factory team, not a hard-up independent outfit desperate for TV exposure.
“I think the manufacturers and medical teams are making more sensible decisions on injuries now,” says Smith. “They’re bringing riders back to action when they’re ready, not too soon.”
Nowadays, there are stricter tests on riders hurrying back from injury, but riders have ways of ducking medical checks, even for serious issues like concussion. “If you’ve not actually been knocked out they can’t test for concussion because you just lie your way through the test,” grins Crutchlow.
So the rider will get back on his 250-horsepower bike, never mind that neither his brain or his body are ready.
“Injuries suck, they really hurt,” adds Smith. “Riding these motorcycles isn’t easy even when you’re fit, but when you ride injured you’re not yourself. You think you can ride but you’re always compensating for something, so there’s always something missing.”
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