Jorge Lorenzo will miss a fourth MotoGP race in a row after ongoing pain from his fractured left wrist proved too much at Sepang.
Lorenzo sat out last weekend’s Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in its entirety but hoped to be able to compete in Malaysia.
He was slowest in Free Practice 1 at 3.5s away from pace-setting Ducati Team team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, and ended up a full five seconds adrift of Alex Rins when he failed to improve in the nine laps he rode in FP2.
Lorenzo will be replaced by Michele Pirro, who was unavailable last weekend due to testing duties for Ducati but was sent to Malaysia to be on standby for the Spaniard.
The three-time premier class champion was already carrying an injury into the Thai MotoGP weekend on October 5-7 when a mechanical problem saw him violently thrown from his bike during practice.
He was eventually diagnosed with a fractured left wrist and while he attempted to ride a fortnight later in Japan, he lasted only two laps in FP1.
Lorenzo underwent surgery just over a week ago and, despite having no championship to fight for nor development work to do in light of his impending move to Repsol Honda, he wanted to compete at Sepang in order to maintain his race fitness.
“I want to go back to the bike because it has been a long time, a lot of weeks that I haven’t ridden, and for sure you lose practice, you lose skills, everything,” he explained prior to the start of the Malaysian MotoGP weekend.
“It’s not only about the fractures and the injuries, but the general physical condition.
“Even if this time I think I will not be able to (do) something big, at least I can get used to the bike again and this will help for my last chance to make a good result with Ducati in Valencia.”
➡ OFFICIAL. @PirroRider will replace @lorenzo99 for the rest of the weekend at #MalaysianGP. Yesterday Jorge tried to ride but he felt pain and this morning the situation of his left wrist has not improved, so he has decided in agreement with the team not to continue in Sepang. pic.twitter.com/fJ18UpIylQ
— Ducati Motor (@DucatiMotor) November 3, 2018
Cal Crutchlow, meanwhile, has had a second operation after breaking his right ankle and tibia during practice at Phillip Island.
He remains in Melbourne after the procedure but is set to fly home on Sunday.
“Cal had his second operation on Thursday morning,” confirmed LCR Honda team principal Lucio Cecchinello.
“The surgery took less than two hours and he was awake about an hour after the procedure finished. He didn’t complain about any particular pain after coming around.
“The surgery was performed by Dr Matthias Russ, the same doctor who carried out the first operation, and he stated that he was very pleased with how the surgery had gone.
“Cal has had two small plates inserted and he will be ready to fly home on Sunday night – provided there are no complications, which nobody expects.
“Once he’s back home he will start physiotherapy and will try his best to be fit again as soon as possible.”
Stefan Bradl has been called up to ride in place of the Brit this weekend.
Suzuki Ecstar’s Rins was quickest in Friday practice at Sepang, while Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati) ended up fifth on combined times.
FP3 starts at 1355 AEDT, while Qualifying 1 is scheduled for 1810 AEDT.