Marco Melandri's World Superbike Championship title hopes have taken a potentially terminal blow after it was confirmed he will not start the second race at Portimao due to a suspected bruised kidney.

The Italian crashed during the opening race and was collected by Chaz Davies, contact that is believed to have caused him damage to his kidney.

Taken to local hospital, Melandri will not make the start of the second race, an absence that will likely reduce the 2012 championship fight to a two-way battle between Max Biaggi and Tom Sykes now.

Prior to the second race, Melandri had slipped 22.5 points behind Biaggi with three races remaining and 75 points remaining.



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