Honda’s Tiago Monteiro has also withdrawn from this weekend’s World Touring Car Championship races at the Twin Ring Motegi as a result of the injuries obtained in testing that also forced his withdrawal from China.
Monteiro lost the lead of the WTCC last time out in Ningbo, when the Portuguese racer was forced to skip the event on medical grounds following his huge shunt in testing in Barcelona in September.
The 41-year-old led the WTCC standings by 12 points after the 12th race of the season in Argentina, but saw his lead disappear through missing China, dropping to second in the drivers’ standings, 0.5 points behind Volvo’s Thed Björk.
In also missing the Japanese races, Monteiro is likely to fall even further from the championship lead, thus elevating team-mate Norbert Michelisz into the position of lead Honda driver.
“This is one of the most disappointing moments of my career,” said Monteiro. “As a team, we’ve worked so hard to get ourselves into a championship-winning position, and to see it slipping away like this is very tough to deal with.
“The most frustrating thing is that the recovery is actually going very well; it’s just that time is against me, but all of these things are motivating me to come back even stronger when the time is right.
“I have to thank the incredible medical team that are working with me every day – we share a common goal to return to racing as soon as possible – and everybody who has sent me kind messages of support through this difficult time.”
Gabriele Tarquini replaced the former championship leader last time out in China but is unavailable for the event at the Twin Ring Motegi this weekend. Honda will announce a replacement driver in due course.