Jorge Lorenzo's hopes of defending his 2012 MotoGP championship crown have suffered a potentially massive blow after confirmation that he will miss the German Grand Prix due to injury.
The Spaniard will fly to Barcelona on Friday night to have surgery on his damaged shoulder, after x-rays revealed he had damaged a titanium plate - inserted after he broke his collarbone a fortnight ago at Assen - in a massive highside crash.
The operation means he will now miss Sunday's race in Germany, and throws his participation at Laguna Seca - which runs back-to-back with the Sachsenring event - into doubt.
"I have decided to go home and recover after today's crash at Sachsenring," Lorenzo said.
"I prefer to focus on surgery to fix the plate that was unfortunately bent during the crash. I will try to recover and be back as soon as possible."
Lorenzo currently lies second in the championship, just nine points behind leader Dani Pedrosa.
He had won two straight races heading into the Dutch TT.
The damage came just three minutes into second practice in Germany, and after Lorenzo had followed up his timesheet-topping FP1 pace by going fastest after the opening flurry of laps.
He was flicked airborne exiting Turn 10 and landed heavily on his left shoulder.
Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden all suffered big falls during the first two sessions in Germany, although all have been cleared to race.
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th