Rizla Suzuki has confirmed that John Hopkins will replace the injured Alvaro Bautista at round two of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship, in Jerez.

Bautista, the only Suzuki grand prix rider after the factory scaled back its MotoGP project for 2011, broke his left femur in a Friday night practice fall ahead of round one of the new racing season in Qatar.

Dorna has made no secret of its displeasure at Suzuki's single-rider effort and the team surely felt under pressure to make sure it could still be on the grid on Sunday.

However, after "exhausting all possible scenarios", including "tentative approaches to several Moto2 riders that have MotoGP experience", Suzuki has had to formally withdraw from this weekend's event.

Former Suzuki MotoGP rider Hopkins was the obvious choice to step-in, having ridden the GSV-R at Qatar last weekend.

But Hopper was back in America, while factory test rider Nobuatsu Aoki was likewise unable to leave Japan in time due to the huge disruption caused by the earthquake and tsunami.

Hopkins will however ride Bautista's bike at round two of the championship, at Jerez in Spain, from April 1-3.

"The 2011 season hasn't yet started and to have this huge disappointment already is very difficult to deal with," admitted team manager Paul Denning.

"The winter tests have been consistent and competitive, especially bearing in mind Alvaro's 'race-day' mentality and his love of fighting with the other guys rather than just riding - we always expect more from him in the races than in the tests, so everything was looking good.

"The reason for the crash was quite simple - pushing too hard in this section without enough temperature in the new tyre - very similar to Rossi's accident in Mugello last year.

"But the real reasons behind that - maybe feeling some pressure after losing track time on Thursday night with the arm pump, wanting to get back into the top group of lap-times as soon as possible - are more complex and unfortunately Alvaro paid a heavy price.

"This sport is very extreme, and the edge between success and disaster is very small. We are all disappointed, but he is the poor guy in hospital with a pin in his femur and a tough recuperation ahead.

"He has the strength of character and determination to come back from this, and on his behalf we'd like to thank everybody for their kind wishes and support, especially the doctors and staff of the Clinica Mobile who came to the hospital at 2.00am last night to check on the situation and lend their valuable advice and assistance.

"With regard to the Qatar GP, we really wanted to find a suitable rider and have the Rizla Suzuki on the grid tomorrow but the logistics for John or Nobu simply didn't allow it.

"Also, the Moto2 teams who have riders with MotoGP experience, that we discussed the option with, were understandably reluctant to release a rider at the first round of the championship.

"Our reason to explore these options was simply to support the Championship, Rizla and all our partners, but ultimately it is a huge ask to expect any rider to jump for only qualifying and the race and expect too much - safety and common sense have to play their part as well and we fully respect those decisions."

Hopkins last raced for Suzuki in 2007, when he finished fourth in the world championship, before joining Kawasaki.

The American was then forced out of MotoGP when Kawasaki withdrew at the end of 2008, and has struggled with injuries since, but aims to rebuild his career with Denning's Crescent Suzuki team in BSB this year.

Hopkins will now get at least one chance to race the GSV-R in 2011.

"John isn't happy with what happened to ?lvaro, but I know he will do a solid job for us in Jerez, and we are hoping to arrange a shakedown test beforehand," said Denning.

"Alvaro's comeback timing isn't clear, and John has BSB commitments that clash with Estoril and Le Mans, so we need to wait a while before any decisions for those races are made.

"Thanks to all ?lvaro's and the team's well-wishers, we greatly appreciate it and we will do everything we can to recover quickly from this situation."

Bautista's unfortunate exit means the MotoGP grid is down to 16 riders and just three manufacturers for the rest of the Qatar weekend.



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