Malaysian MotoGP grid depleted as Rabat, Oliveira withdraw

Miguel Oliveira and Tito Rabat are out of the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang with no replacements, reducing the grid to 20 MotoGP bikes

Oliveira, Zarco crash

Only 20 riders are set to start the 2019 Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang after injury concerns ruled out Miguel Oliveira and Tito Rabat from this weekend’s event.

KTM Tech 3 rider Oliveira suffered injuries to his hand after crashing during FP4 at Phillip Island a week ago, the Portuguese an unwitting victim in gales that forced him off course and into a high-speed crash.

However, of more concern for Oliveira is the ongoing shoulder ailment he suffered at Silverstone when he was controversially eliminated by his own KTM counterpart Johann Zarco. With only one more round to go before the off-season, Oliveira – who will continue with Tech 3 in 2020 – will now consider undergoing surgery in an effort to be fully fit for next season.

“We need to clarify that with our medical team, that we trust, to basically understand the current condition,” Oliveira told reporters on Friday. “If surgery is the correct treatment for what I have then we are talking about a three-month recovery and now it is borderline to come back to the test here fit.”

Travelling 40-hours… and told you’re not needed

Meanwhile, Avintia Racing will enter just a single Ducati for Karel Abraham after Rabat failed to recover in time from injuries sustained in his crash at Phillip Island.

Bizarrely though, Avintia Racing did call on the services of its MotoE rider Eric Granado, who duly made the long 40-hour to reach Malaysia from his native Brazil only to be told he won’t be racing.

Despite this, Granado will be staying on Avintia’s books for 2020, most likely as part of its MotoE project.

“I am very happy to continue with Avintia for another year. I quite liked the work we have done in MotoE and, although for some reasons we did not get the results, I am sure that next year we will have a great season.”

"I also want to thank that they trusted me to come to Malaysia, I hope to have another opportunity shortly to work with the MotoGP team and grow as a pilot within the team for the next few years.”