Ana Carrasco, the first woman to win a World Championship in motorcycle road racing with her 2018 WorldSSP300 championship, has suffered a double vertebrae fracture while testing at the Circuito Estoril in Portugal. She was conscious when transported to the hospital.
Because the crash took place in testing where fans couldn’t see what happened, details have been scarce. Her team, Provec Kawasaki, announced that she fractured both her D4 and D6 vertebrae—or, the T4 and T6—and that she was transferred from a hospital in Lisbon to one in Barcelona for more specialized care.
As stated above, she was conscious when taken to the hospital, and her team has noted that she was in pain but that she was able to move all of her limbs. She also retained sensation throughout her body and suffered no brain stem trauma or nerve damage.
Her injured vertebrae are part of the thoracic or dorsal spine spine, which runs from the base of the neck to the abdomen. Essentially, it’s the part of the spine that connects to the rib cage, and the two vertebrae Carrasco has injured can potentially impact breathing. Thankfully, it seems as if her injuries are minor, but it will take quite some time for her to recover.
Carrasco is currently contending for her second WorldSSP300 championship. While she sits in fifth in the overall standings, she’s a mere 34 points behind championship leader Jeffry Buis as the series heads into its final three races. She secured a victory at Portimao in August, and it was fully possible that she could make up the gap.
Carrasco isn’t the only racer to suffer spinal fractures this season. In mid-August, Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael fractured his spine in a similar area during a Barcelona feature race. He was forced to sit out the following six weeks—at minimum—before returning to competition. While Carrasco’s situation is not totally the same as Gelael’s, it’s difficult to imagine that she will recover in time to contest the final races of the season.