Tommy Hill's hopes of winning the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship title could be in jeopardy after it was confirmed his Oulton Park warm-up accident has left him with a torn tendon in his shoulder
The Swan Yamaha rider came down hard after slipping on fluid dropped by Loris Baz's stricken Motorpoint Yamaha, the Frenchman having crashed just moments earlier on the exit of Brittens.
A bitter blow for Hill having dominated qualifying a day earlier, it is feared he will also be forced to skip the upcoming Croft round of the series.
Even so, Hill was remaining philosophical about the prospect of missing more races, pointing out that the 'showdown' points' format – and the opportunity to drop scores - could be crucial to him getting back into the title fight.
"It has been one of those days which just show the ups and downs of racing,” said Hill, who came into the weekend with a four point lead in the standings. “We were feeling really confident and I was really happy, we had set pole position and looked in a strong position for the races. Then it all just went wrong.
“I was coming out of Shell and I knew I was up on the sector times, but as I came into Brittens I saw a yellow flag out the corner of my eye and rolled off a bit. I didn't see anyone down, but there was just fluid on the track and I just it caught it with the rear tyre and it threw me off. It is a big downer for me and the team but I just have to go home and get mended as soon as I can.
“These injuries I have been told can take five to six weeks to heal, but I will see a specialist and then we can go from there. Of course I want to be back for Croft, but I won't have more of an idea until I see the specialist.
“The points system though could play into my hands, as I can drop today's results before the Showdown. I need to make sure that when I come back I am at full fitness so I can do the best job I can in getting the championship back on track for Swan Yamaha."
Hill's circumstances bare a striking similarity to that of his Swan predecessor James Ellison, who broke his leg in an accident at Thruxton during the second round of the 2010 season. Ellison had also been a race winner for the team at the Brands Hatch opener of that year.