Danilo Petrucci expects to miss three MotoGP races with hand injury

Pramac Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci says he is "99 per cent certain" to miss the first three rounds of the MotoGP season after aggravating his right-hand injury

Danilo Petrucci expects to miss three MotoGP races with hand injury

After breaking three metacarpals in a testing crash at Phillip Island four weeks ago, Petrucci returned to the track during Thursday's opening Qatar Grand Prix practice.

Following conclusion Friday's two sessions, x-rays revealed he had dislocated one of those healing metacarpals, ruling him out of the season opener.

Petrucci will return to Europe for surgery on Monday, when he is likely to add to his existing plate and 12 screws, and is resigned to missing the next two races.

"I don't know how hard the surgery is, but 99 per cent I am going to miss Argentina and Texas and come back to Jerez, and then we will see," he told Autosport.

"I tried everything [to be ready for Qatar] but it was worse to stay at home and feel like I could try.

"I tried and unfortunately I took the worse way to finish this weekend."

Having got through Thursday night's session, the pain escalated on Friday, despite Petrucci receiving extensive treatment at MotoGP's trackside clinica mobile.

"Yesterday after the first session I felt very, very tired," he added.

"I felt a lot of pain, but I have felt pain for a month.

"But during the second session I struggled more and more.

"At the end, unfortunately the bike had a problem and I stopped for three minutes, I went back out for the last three laps with the new tyres and I was crying.

"In some parts of the circuit, I realised that I couldn't open the throttle and I couldn't brake.

"I did my best lap at the end, but it was very risky and when they did an x-ray, I had broken the bones again."

Petrucci finished the session 14th, while team-mate Scott Redding was ninth to book a place in the second phase of qualifying.

The speed of Pramac's 2015 Ducatis adds to Petrucci's frustration.

"It's hard. If in the first session I was last, two seconds from second last, I'd say, 'OK. You can ride a bike but you are here for racing'," he said.

"In the first session I beat the time [Ducati test rider Michele] Pirro made in the three days of testing.

"Yesterday in the first session I finished in 10th position with the hard tyre, so I said, 'OK, if I don't brake hard, I can go faster', these bikes are awesome..."

Pirro deputised for Petrucci during the Qatar pre-season test a fortnight ago, and is the likely contender, with a decision to be largely be led by Ducati.

That decision is likely to be made after Ducati's other test rider, Casey Stoner, completes two days of running following the grand prix.

The Australian, who has not started a MotoGP race since the end of 2012, is believed to be at best a slim chance to replace Petrucci.

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