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Bautista fracture femur in Qatar crash

Suzuki's only MotoGP rider, Alvaro Bautista, breaks leg in practice crash for round one in Qatar. Will John Hopkins replace him?
The only Suzuki rider on the MotoGP grid, Alvaro Bautista, has been ruled out of this weekend's opening round in Qatar after breaking his femur in Friday night's final free practice session.

The young Spaniard, starting his second MotoGP season, suffered a big highside from his GSV-R at turn 15, with nine of the 45-minutes remaining.

Bautista, who has been struggling with arm-pump after a fast fall in testing at Losail last Monday, was seen grasping his left thigh after the accident and had to be carried from the track on a stretcher.

Bautista was 16th out of the 17 riders at the time of his fall.

Rizla Suzuki press officer Tim Walpole wrote on his Twitter page: "Alvaro has broken left femur. He is on his way to hospital. It needs a pin but he might return to Spain for that. More news later."

Further updates read:

"Just back from the hospital. 3.30am here. Alvaro will have the operation sometime tomorrow in Doha. No idea yet on length of recovery.

"No news on any replacements either here or in future races, as soon as there is official news it will be on the Team's website."

Former Suzuki MotoGP star John Hopkins, who tested the GSV-R at Qatar last weekend, has previously been named as a reserve should such a scenario occur - but it looks unlikely that the American, due to race for Crescent Suzuki in BSB this year, can arrive in time for qualifying.

Hopkins finished third in his last ride for Suzuki at Valencia in 2007, then made an ill-fated switch to Kawasaki. Hopper moved to Superbike racing after Team Green quit MotoGP at the end of 2008.

The first round of the 2011 BSB season is not until April 22-25, so - even if Qatar is not possible - Hopkins looks set to return to MotoGP for round two at Jerez from April 1-3.

Without Suzuki, the MotoGP grid will be down to 16 riders and just three manufacturers.

Suzuki cut back to a single-rider this season in order to save money following the global financial crises.

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Bautista, Qatar MotoGP 2011
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Heavy E - Unregistered

March 18, 2011 7:53 PM

I really had hoped that Hopper would get a crack at the Suzook this season, but not in this fashion! Best of luck to Bautista in his recovery, and best of luck to Hopkins as well.

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