Yusuke Watanabe was feeling upbeat and excited for Round 11 of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, the Budds Creek National. He and riding coach Doug Dubach stayed on the east side of the U.S. during the week between Unadilla and Budds Creek, training in the hot and humid conditions where Watanabe is very strong.
The Japanese rider came out strong in the first qualifying session. His riding was relaxed and he was able to find good speed early in the timed practice. He was 18th on the monitor as he headed towards the back part of the track before he jumped too close to the edge of the track on a downhill section and hit some soft soil, throwing him over the front of the bike.
When the Alpinestars medical staff got him to the medical unit for an examination, they decided to transport him to the nearest hospital for further checks. Fortunately, he had no broken bones but had sustained some heavy trauma to his neck and back. He was released from the hospital late on Saturday night and was able to fly home on Sunday, where he rested for most of the day. Watanabe will go to his local doctor on Wednesday for a follow-up assessment to determine if he can attend the last race of the season in Indiana.
“I was looking forward to this race as we were riding on the east coast the week before. In the time attack, I was pushing for a good time and made a mistake, coming too close to the edge of the track. I hope to recover soon and get back to racing. I’m sorry not to be able to race and want to thank everybody for their support.”
“I think Yusuke was very excited for this race, so I’m very sad for him today. He is working so hard and climbing up each week and this setback is very unfortunate. For his confidence, I really hope he can join the last race next week!”
|1||Shane McElrath||KTM||17 Laps|