Works Ducati MotoGP test rider Pirro to stand in for Baz at Avintia

Ducati will loan its factory MotoGP test rider Michele Pirro to satellite team Avintia to replace the injured Loris Baz for the Catalunya Grand Prix at Barcelona next weekend

Baz sustained a broken right foot in a first-corner crash with Alvaro Bautista and Jack Miller in the last race at Mugello.

He underwent surgery in Geneva on Thursday, but the injury was found to be more complex than expected and he will be sidelined for four to six weeks while recovering from both fractures and ligament damage.

Three titanium plates, two nails and 15 screws were used by surgeon Dr Adrien Rey during an hour-and-a-half operation.

"It's a shame, because the injury is quite big, not in terms of health risk, but it will take some time to heal," said Baz.

"It was a tricky injury but I'm happy with the great job made by Dr [Finn] Mahler's team.

"Unfortunately miracles don't exist, and my bones won't heal in one week, so it's impossible to be fit for Barcelona."

Baz is hoping to return for the Dutch TT at Assen on the last weekend of June.

In the interim, Pirro will transfer to Avintia after racing an additional factory Ducati at Mugello, where he finished 10th.

He had previously been loaned to fellow Ducati squad Pramac for three rounds when Danilo Petrucci was injured earlier this year.

Avintia team manager Augustin Escobar thinks the squad can benefit from having a factory Ducati rider on board in Baz's absence.

"He is a fast rider and he knows all the Ducati bikes," Escobar said of Pirro.

"It will be interesting to work together and I'm sure that he will give some valuable information to our engineers to improve the bike set-up and the electronics."

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