Red Bull KTM’s Tommy Searle is unsure when he might be able to return to riding and MXGP after apparently breaking his L7 vertebrae in a heavy second lap crash during the first moto of last week’s Thai Grand Prix.

The luckless 25 year old suffered his second injury in the space of a week. Searle damaged the nerve in his right hand during the Qualification Heat for the Grand Prix of Qatar the previous Saturday but had headed to Nakhonchaisri in a positive frame of mind after feeling an improvement with his thumb during the week.


The accident at the Thailand Circuit happened when the KTM man landed badly from the finish line double and was sent tumbling. He was initially taken to hospital complaining of back pain and immediate worries were eased when Searle said he had feeling in his legs and his lower body.

The only confirmation of injury so far is the compression fracture to the L7 and even the rider does not know the exact time frame in terms of recovery. He has two weeks before the paddock will start to move to Neuquen for the Grand Prix of Argentina.

Update from KTM: The injury had no neurological consequences and the lesion does not need to be stabilised. Searle was able to return to the UK the following day on a scheduled flight and will undergo further medical examinations in the coming days to assess the time required for him to completely recover. Meanwhile the Red Bull KTM Factory rider is in good spirits, saying: “I’m fine, I’m very sorry but I’m also positive: I will be back soon!”

Team-mate Ken De Dycker also crashed in the same moto but thankfully without injury.