Australian Jason Doyle has pulled out of the final Speedway Grand Prix in Melbourne after the Swindon Robins star sustained injuries in the previous round in Poland.
Doyle, who lead the World Championships ahead of Greg Hancock by five points heading into the Polish meeting, suffered a punctured left lung and a badly traumatised right lung in heat three after a collision with Great Britain rider Chris Harris. He also dislocated his left shoulder and shattered his right elbow.
After failing to compete in Poland, Hancock stormed to an eleven point lead over the Aussie, who remains in second, with current World Champion Tai Woffinden in third, 19 points behind Hancock.
Posting on his Facebook page, Doyle insisted he had to put his health first, with a 24-hour trip Down Under inadvisable due to his lung concerns.
He said: “I would like to let everyone know first-hand from me that sadly I have to withdraw from the Melbourne GP.
“I am unable to fly due to my lungs and have to wait for surgery on my elbow once my lungs are healed.
“I would like to again thank everyone for their kind messages. I have got time to read them all! I will concentrate on my health and recovery to be ready for 2017.”
Doyle had already sealed his place in the 2017 World Championship after his fourth victory of the season at the Stockholm SGP on September 24, and could still finish with an impressive silver medal, but given his recent run of form and Grand Prix successes, the injury will certainly come as a bitter blow, particularly with the final fixture in his home country.