Four-time world champion Greg Hancock admitted “sometimes you’ve just got to listen to your body” after confirming his 2017 season is over as he seeks shoulder surgery.
The Californian suffered a dislocated shoulder when he slipped down the stairs at his European base in Sweden last month.
Hancock was forced to pull out of the Adrian Flux British SGP in his first ride on July 22 after the shoulder popped out again, and was unable to take part in the Teng Tools Swedish SGP in Malilla on August 12.
Despite huge efforts to strengthen the joint enough for him to see out the season, the 47-year-old has reluctantly admitted defeat and will go under the knife as soon as possible.
He said: “It’s definitely not the way I wanted my season to end but sometimes you’ve just got to listen to your body and do the sensible thing so you can live to fight another day.
“My focus now is on getting my shoulder fixed as soon as possible and then working hard on my recovery so I can come back next year 100 percent fit and ready for another big season.”
Hancock added: “I am obviously devastated to have to end my season so early but I know that it’s the right call, as frustrating as it is.
“I have worked so hard since Cardiff on trying to build the strength back up in my shoulder and trying to stabilise it, but the truth is that the only way of making it strong enough is to have an operation and get it fixed properly.
“I have had a lot of physio treatment and I really hoped that I would at least get it strong enough to see out this season. But over the weekend it almost popped out again and really that was the confirmation I needed that it would be dangerous to get back on the bike.
“To compete at the highest level you need to be 100 percent confident that you can do everything you need to do on the bike, you need to be prepared for every situation and I know that I can’t do that with the shoulder the way it is. It’s not fair, safe and I won’t put myself or other people at risk.”
Hancock is gutted to be missing Swedish side Piraterna and Polish club Torun’s final meetings, as well as sitting out the rest of the SGP series.
He said: “Missing half of a GP season is so disappointing, but I’m also really grieving for both Torun and Piraterna that I haven’t been able to help them get the results they need. It’s so hard to sit on the sidelines when you know your teams need you.
“I’ve been trying to help them both out where I can, but unfortunately it’s been off the track and not on it!
“I have to say a huge thanks to all my fans for the support and nice messages over the last few weeks and of course to my clubs and sponsors too, who have been awesome. I’ll be back!”