Brazilian hero Alex Barros may be denied the chance to compete in his home GP this weekend due to urgent surgery being required on his shoulder - which would sideline him for the remainder of the 2003 season.

A spokeswoman for Barros told Brazil that he has been diagnosed with a broken tendon in his right shoulder, probably the result of his lastest accident at the Sachsenring (pictured), after visiting Dr. Mois?s Cohen at the Federal University of Sao Paulo.

However, Barros - the only Brazilian MotoGP - is renowned for racing while injured and with 40-50,000 tickets already sold for his home event the gritty #4 is currently undergoing intensive physiotherapy and pain relief injections which may allow him to race this Saturday.

Nevertheless, whether he can last until the end of the year is much less likely, and Alex - rumoured to be seeking a return to the Pons team for next season - may be forced to sit out the final four rounds at Motegi, Malaysia, Australia and Valencia even if he can fight the pain this weekend.

The MotoGP veteran, who won two events last year on a Pons run Honda, currently sits eighth in the riders' championship with a best finish of third at Le Mans - Yamaha's only podium of the 2003 season so far.

In an accident littered season, the Gauloises Yamaha rider seriously injured his knee at the Suzuka season opener, fractured his hand at Catalunya, then injured himself further in a warm-up crash with Yukio Kagayama at Donington - before damaging his shoulder at the Sachsenring when his bike slipped into neutral under braking.

Despite his catalogue of injuries - the knee damage alone would have put a footballer out of action for months - Barros has missed just one race this season, July's British Grand Prix.

Should Barros be forced to miss any further races, official Yamaha test rider Norick Abe is likely to substitute for him, alongside Frenchman Olivier Jacque, in Herve Poncharal's team.



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