MX2-GP World Champion Antonio Cairoli has undergone surgery on his left knee after scans yesterday in Belgium revealed a damaged ACL. Renowned specialist Dr Claes performed the successful procedure and the repercussions of the injury sustained last weekend in South Africa and the subsequent recovery period mean that the 2008 series is over for the unlucky Sicilian.
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, Yamaha) in South Africa / Photo by: Yamaha Racing
Cairoli twisted his knee trying to keep control of his YZ250F after being touched negotiating a crowded fourth turn on the first lap of round ten in Nelspruit last Sunday. Despite a lot of pain, early signs appeared not to be too bad with little inflammation around the joint; the reigning number one and winner of four Grand Prix this season showed immense courage to even attempt the second moto but ultimately had to pull into the pits, unable to continue.
Upon returning to Europe Cairoli had an MRI which revealed the ligament damage and immediately made a decision together with Yamaha Red Bull De Carli team principal Claudio de Carli to go under the knife and begin the rehabilitation process of between 3-4 months, with an aim to be fully fit over the crucial winter period where he will begin preparations for his assault on the MX1-GP class in 2009.
"I was frustrated and disappointed after the accident with my knee in South Africa. The championship is so tight that I knew even missing just one moto was an advantage I could not give to Tommy and Tyla," the 22 year old said. "I thought I might have some problems with the meniscus and hoped I could come back in Lommel as I did not want to surrender the title but after the scan I knew that the championship had gone for sure. Instead of trying to ride in pain or not being at 100%, I made the decision to have the surgery now and get the recovery out of the way as soon as possible."
Cairoli should be able to start walking with crutches very soon and will have a check-up next week. In less than a month he will be able to start training with a bicycle.
In addition to capturing the MX1 Italian championship Cairoli has won the most Grand Prix this year and also tied with title rival Tyla Rattray for most moto victories (7 each). He is currently third in the championship, 70 points ahead of Shaun Simpson in fourth place. Cairoli joined the Yamaha De Carli Team in 2004, and he is the most successful motocrosser in the MX2 class for the last five years taking 24 GP wins and 54 moto victories on his Yamaha YZ250F, not forgetting his MX1-GP and moto triumph on the Yamaha YZ450F in Great Britain, 2007. In the past three years (2005, 2006, 2007) he claimed two MX2 world titles, scoring 21 wins from the 46 GPs he rode and 47 moto chequered flags from 92 appearances. He also won two European Supercross titles (UEM SX) in 2006 and 2007.
Source: Press release Yamaha Red Bull De Carli team