During the off-season, when the FIM forbids MotoGP pilots from practicing on their prototype motorcycles, many riders stay in shape on motorcross bikes.
And with this type of training arrives an inherent danger of crashing, something that has plagued many of MotoGP greats, including Valentino Rossi (2010), and now his fellow Italian countryman, Andrea Dovizioso.
The 25-year old fractured his right collarbone Thursday during a motocross-training accident at a track in Italy. Dovizioso, who will pilot the Yamaha M1 with Herve Poncharal's Tech 3 team in 2012 MotoGP, was taken to the Bologna Hospital, where he will undergo surgery on Saturday.
Although a serious injury, Poncharal is confident that the former Repsol Honda rider Dovizioso will be recovered in time for the first test of 2012 MotoGP in Sepang Jan. 31- Feb. 2.
Poncharal recently spoke to MotoGP, says he's not "overly concerned" because "there are three weeks before the Sepang Test, which is only the first Test of the year. Also, both Colin (Edwards) and Cal (Crutchlow) recovered very quickly from similar injuries last season."
Speaking of how the accident occurred, Dovizioso's personal manager Simone Batistella says "Andrea was training on Thursday and riding a motocross bike. It was a training session like any other, but then Dovi had this crash which he himself described as a minor one. However, the way in which he landed when he fell resulted in a fracture to his right collarbone.
"As far as the Sepang Test goes, the first impressions of the medics who examined him are that he should not have any major problems, and they expect and hope for a speedy recovery. Tomorrow (Saturday) he'll have an operation and then we'll know if everything's going to plan or if there are any problems. The only certainty is that he'll have a slight delay to his preparations for Sepang."
MotoGP reports that Dovizioso will be operated on by Dr. Porcellini, the same specialist who treated Valentino Rossi last year when the nine-time World Champion suffered a similar accident in pre-season.
This is the second off-season crash to occur in MotoGP; Ducati Team's Nicky Hayden broke his left scapula and fractured two ribs while training in an indoor flat-track circuit in his home-state of Kentucky last month. Hayden is also expected to be fully recovered for the first MotoGP test in Sepang.