Moments earlier, training for the weekend’s SuperSport race assembly, she had approached a nook at pace and misplaced management of her Kawasaki. The bike spat the petite Spaniard into the gravel, sending her sprawling.
“It was my first time in a strange track, so I went much faster than what was possible in one corner and I went out into the gravel,” Carrasco tells CNN from her dwelling in Barcelona. “It was not a big crash, for sure, it was maybe a stupid crash, but I had bad luck and I was injured a lot in this stupid crash.”
The ‘silly crash’ was about to current Carrasco with maybe the most important problem of her life.
“I cannot remember the first moment after the crash, because I hit my head, and I cannot remember some things,” she explains. “But my first memories are in the hospital at the circuit, I remember the pain in my back.”
Carrasco had fractured two vertebrae. It was the type of damage that ends careers, or worse. At the very least, a lengthy highway to restoration stretched out forward of her however Carrasco is not any peculiar athlete. As the primary girl ever to win a solo motorbike championship, the 24-year-old is used to confounding doubters.
“I tried to react to this injury in a way like a normal one,” she continues. “I could move my legs, my arms, every movement, so I didn’t have the fear [that I] cannot race again.”
She was transferred to a hospital in Barcelona, the place surgeons undertook the painstaking, delicate process of screwing titanium plates to her backbone. The time within the hospital was troublesome, she admits, particularly with strict social distancing in place due to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. “That period was the hardest for sure,” she tells CNN.
Her mom was ready to keep at her bedside within the hospital, whereas the remainder of her household moved to Barcelona from her hometown, Murcia, so they might at the very least be close by. “For sure it’s more difficult than a normal situation, because the family always wants to help,” she continues. “It was difficult for them to be outside the hospital and not do anything.”
One fixed all through the method, nonetheless, was Carrasco’s social media following. She documented each key second of her restoration, reassuring followers at every flip. Occasionally this meant sharing some putting photographs. She smiles broadly as she recollects revealing the large scar that now runs nearly half the size of her backbone, stapled collectively, for the primary time.
“I went home, and I was with my father here, and he took the picture because I asked him to do it, to see how the scar was,” she explains. “I showed it because I think that social media is good to be close to the fans. We always show the good moments […] but then behind all of these things the riders have to pass some difficult moments during their careers, and it’s important that they know also this […] I wanted to make them part of my recovery.”
Many staples holding her back collectively
Carrasco admits she was a little shocked on the dimension of the scar the primary time she noticed it.
“For sure I thought it was a little bit smaller, because the first time you see it, it’s very, very big,” she laughs. “It’s not the first one, and for sure will not be the last one of my career, so I have to live with that, and after some time I start to see it like normal, the positive thing is that I have it on my back, so normally I’m not seeing it and it’s not a problem for sure.”
She additionally shared a unprecedented X-Ray of her surgical procedure, exhibiting the 2 titanium plates, together with 13 screws and plenty of staples holding her back collectively, as a tribute to her surgical group. “Thanks to their great work I can now do some exercise and in a few months I will be fit again!”, she wrote on Instagram.
Even from her hospital mattress, she nonetheless insisted on following the subsequent race weekend. Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea gained his World Superbike race in Barcelona and wore one in every of Carrasco’s distinctive ‘Pink Warrior’ t-shirts on the rostrum, a gesture that meant a lot to the Spaniard. “To see him with my t-shirt, and doing this, was really nice, for me and my family.”
The day after surgical procedure, Carrasco was ready to take her first ginger steps.
“It was strange to be walking again,” she explains. “After that I could move a little bit, with help from my mother or somebody, but only from my bed to the toilet or something like that.”
About a week and a half later, she says she was ready to return dwelling. Her rehabilitation started in earnest a month after surgical procedure — swimming and different workouts with her private coach to step by step construct up her mobility.
“I was like that,” Carrasco laughs and stiffens her back inflexible and upright. Eventually, she was ready to return to one thing resembling her regular coaching regime.
Just an hour after medical doctors gave her the all-clear to trip, Carrasco was within the saddle. “My team was waiting for me at the circuit with a small bike,” she smiles. “It was really nice .. a nice step on my recovery.”
She insists that she by no means doubted that she would return to racing, however two exterior elements performed a key function. Firstly, her group, Provec Kawasaki, renewed her contract, simply six weeks after her accident, when her return was in no way sure.
“This was really important for me,” she explains. “If you don’t have a team it’s really difficult, and after an injury like that, if the team doesn’t believe that you will come back racing, it’s difficult to find a bike […] I’m really grateful to them because nobody stopped believing.”
Secondly, Covid-19 restrictions delayed the beginning of the season. “I had one month more to the first race; I was not 100% ready to start, but I felt quite good.”
Fairy story win
Then the fairy story, in solely her second race assembly, on the Marco Simoncelli circuit in Misano, Italy, Carrasco clinched an improbably victory, simply eight months after her accident:
“The Misano race was really crazy,” she grins. “In the last lap I had good luck, I was in the right place in the straight, I could overtake I think seven, eight riders in the last four corners […] to finish second would have been good in that race, but winning was even better for me, for the team. They had to wait for me for many months, so to be back winning was really nice for them and for me.”
Eight-time Grand Prix world champion Marc Marquez was amongst these to provide his congratulations to Carrasco on her comeback. “I was really pleased for her”, he informed reporters forward of his personal comeback win in Germany final month. “I was really happy, and it was great to see after such a long recovery from injury, it’s like having some extra fuel in you.”
Away from the observe, Carrasco has set herself one other problem: she is learning Law at UCAM: “I started this, because in racing you never know when your last race is, so this is my plan B […] I’d like to have my team or manage another rider when I stop racing, so it’s important to know what you’re doing. I want to finish this and then try to combine with my experience racing and try to help others.”
Few would guess in opposition to this extraordinary rider reaching her objective.