John Hopkins may have walked away from a heavy crash in today's final qualifying session at Rio without any broken bones, but the tough 20-year-old did suffer numerous injuries which could well force him out of tomorrow's GP.

The accident occurred while he was attempting to find a harder, race spec, Michelin to suit his tyre eating Suzuki. But, as he exited the final third-gear corner of the Nelson Piquet circuit, his GSV-R suddenly snapped violently sideways mid-corner and - after hanging on to the kicking machine for as long as he could - Hopper was finally thrown off, his bike hitting him as he tumbled.

"I wasn't real thrilled going out there on the harder compound," began the Anglo-American. "The bike was really only working well with a very soft compound and I thought I could make that last during the race. But the team felt we'd have a better chance if we could get the bike to work with a harder compound.

"I was sliding the bike everywhere and hoping that the tyres would come in, but they didn't," he continued. "The crash happened so fast. I tried like crazy to save it, but it threw me into a somersault and beat me up pretty good. I had a footpeg stab me in one leg, and then another on the other shin, and then when it tossed me off my thumb seemed to get jammed and bent right back."

Hopkins was carried away from the scene in a stretcher, but climbed off as it reached the trackside barrier so he could walk back to the pits via a circuit-workers' footbridge. His injuries were investigated immediately at the medical centre, and though no fractures were found, he has suffered damage to his left hand, right foot and both lower legs. As such, he is questionable for Saturday's MotoGP.

"I'm in a lot of pain right now, and with the situation we're in, in no position to fight for a championship, I'll see how I feel in the morning," he said of racing. "But I'm getting stiffer as we speak so it's pretty doubtful. Unless there's a minor miracle I'm probably going to call it a weekend. There's no sense in me going out there injured and ride around for nothing."

The crash was especially disappointing for Hopkins since he qualified 13th in Thursday's session and was hopeful he could secure a decent starting position. However, team manager Garry Taylor was just pleased he was relatively unharmed, but wants track access reviewed after the incident.

"John was trying very hard, and when you need to go for every possible bit of speed, occasionally this sort of stuff is going to happen. John is really tough, but right now I'd be very surprised to see him race tomorrow," confessed Taylor.

"One thing that needs looking into is there was no way for him to get back. He had to walk over the Cinzano footbridge, which is really just scaffolding with a couple of ladders each end. I've never seen a rider do that before - and you could see the pain come in when he was halfway over the bridge," he added. "Dr Costa and Dean Miller looked into his injuries immediately at the medical centre, with special concern over a big impact in the area of his left scaphoid (wrist bone), and his right foot. X-ray's show that no bones were broken."

Hopkins looks likely to fly back to his home in California and recuperate in preparation for the Pacific Grand Prix in two weeks.