Dani Pedrosa has decided to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix after struggling with his collarbone injury during practice and qualifying.
The Honda rider returned to action at Phillip Island yesterday just two weeks after he broke his collarbone in a Motegi practice crash. He has been off the pace throughout the event, though, qualifying only 15th, and admitted following the session that it was not worth the risk of racing given the pain he was still in.
"After the operation in Spain my target was to come back in Australia," said Pedrosa. "But having ridden in the three practice sessions here it's clear that it is really impossible for me to maintain a high pace because I lose strength in my arm lap by lap and controlling the bike gets increasingly difficult – even more so with the strong winds here.
"Phillip Island is a very fast circuit, I have to grip the handlebars very tightly, and this makes me very tired and gives me a lot of pain. To ride around three seconds off the pace in the race tomorrow and maybe collect just a few points wouldn't make much sense."
Pedrosa stood by his decision to try and compete in Australia, however.
"I think it has been worth it to at least try to ride here because we really didn't know how I would be on the bike until we tried," he said. "Now, though, I don't want to take more risks so that I can recover in time for Estoril. I discussed the situation with HRC team director Kazuhiko Yamano and we have the same opinion."
Yamano said he fully backed Pedrosa's handling of his situation.
"It was worth Dani coming here and trying to ride because it was the only way to find out the real situation," said the team boss. "But we have decided that a 27-lap race in conditions that have been very difficult all weekend would be too risky."
Compounding a tough day for Honda, Pedrosa's teammate Andrea Dovizioso will start down in ninth – a disappointment following his back-to-back second places in Japan and Malaysia.
"I struggled to ride in the high winds today and actually my body position on the bike was making things difficult in these conditions," the Italian explained. "The main reason for my grid position is that with the gusty wind I cannot control the bike as I want and hold the racing line, and we also need to find some more grip as well."