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MotoGP star Pol Espargaro was airlifted to hospital after suffering serious injuries in a horrific crash in practice at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
After losing control, Espargaro was thrown from his bike as he approached turn ten and flew across the track before crashing into the barrier. Medics immediately rushed to his aid and he received almost 30 minutes of treatment before being put into an ambulance and then airlifted to hospital via a helicopter.
MotoGP later revealed Espargaro had suffered a pulmonary contusion, jaw fracture and a fractured dorsal vertebra. MotoGP's Medical Director Dr Angel Charte said: "He has had a high-energy fall with a large polytraumatic contusion at the level of the entire dorsal, lumbar and sacral spine.
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"We'll have to see what the extent is once tests are done at the hospital in Faro. Cervically, he is perfectly fine. Neurologically, he is fine, he has not lost consciousness at any time.
"We have not had to intubate him at any time and he has saturated well, but it is true that he has a strong pulmonary contusion. He is conscious and oriented, a little sedated, but the neurological examination is perfectly normal."
Espargaro's team, Tech3 Racing, have sinceprovided a further update on his condition, tweeting: "@polespargaro was transferred last night to Quironsalud Barcelona hospital, under Dr Ángel Charte supervision.
"The team in Barcelona will now look after him and keep him in observation. Thank you Faro Hospital for taking care of him since his arrival on Friday afternoon."
The horrific crash was Espargaro's second in practice, having earlier been thrown off his bike by an apparent mechanical failure, and the incident prompted several other riders to voice concerns. Reigning MotoGP champion Pecco Bagnaia said: "Without this gravel it wasn't a red flag.
"It would've been a crash, but not as big as this. Because when he arrived to the gravel, it started to accelerate. It's four years that we're asking to change the safety of this track. The first time we arrived here in the track walk I did with my team, I sent a picture of the gravel to [then-MotoGP safety officer] Franco Uncini, that was too big.
"And it was the normal form of the gravel, and the size, too. Last year, when I took the gravel to the box, everyone was laughing at what I did. And nothing changed until the crash of Diggia. That I think was too late, because already with the crash of [Jorge] Martin [in 2021] was quite easy to understand was a problem."
Espargaro's older brother and fellow MotoGP rider Aleix added: "We have to see if we can improve something. Because this is Portimao, 25 degrees, everything is OK. What do we do at 5 o’clock in Germany and Assen? Red flag all the time? Yellow flag every lap? Because this is what is going to happen.
"Because practice two is qualifying. It is the most important session. Even more than qualifying. Tomorrow, qualifying – start P4 or P7? Pff. Today, finishing P7 or P11? It's a huge difference. So we know that the session that we're going to risk more is practice two. At five in the afternoon in some countries where it's cold – it's not the best idea."
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