Tuesday, March 5, 2024

2023 Rallye du Maroc: Joaquim Rodrigues out after shakedown crash

Joaquim Rodrigues‘ return to racing will have to wait a little longer after crashing during the final day of shakedowns on Thursday, hurting his shoulder and keeping him on the sideline for the Rallye du Maroc.

The injury marks his second straight year of misfortune in Morocco, having crashed on the very first stage of the 2022 edition before officially retiring the next day.

“While on a final shakedown test at Agadir, JRod suffered an awful crash – injuring his shoulder plate,” reads a statement from Hero MotoSports. “Unfortunately, he will not be able to continue the race. We wish our hero a speedy recovery, and hope to see him back in action soon – stronger than ever.”

Morocco was due to be his first race after breaking a left femur bone when he crashed ninety kilometres into Stage #4 of the Dakar Rally in January. He had been coming off a ninth-place stage finish the day prior. Rodrigues returned to riding in June to prepare for Morocco, the final race of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship.

The Dakar injury prevented him from racing the rest of the W2RC calendar after finishing eleventh in the 2022 standings. With Rodrigues out again, Hero MotoSports will remain a two-bike operation with Ross Branch and Sebastian Bühler. Branch is currently fourth in the RallyGP standings while Bühler is eleventh.

The Rallye du Maroc begins on Friday.