UPDATE: A&R just had another chat with Rizla Suzuki, racing this weekend depends on the ability to get a rider to Qatar in-time. No decision has been made, but the impression was that if Hopper can get out to Qatar, he’d be in the saddle for Qualifying on Saturday evening.
We’ve just gotten confirmation from the Rizla Suzuki team that Alvaro Bautista had broken his femur from his high-speed crash in FP3 at the Qatar GP. Currently undergoing tests at Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, Bautista needs a pin for the broken bone, an operation the rider would like to undertake in his home country of Spain, but the team is still evaluating whether to undergo that surgery in Qatar.
Bautista’s highside crash occurred at considerable speed in Losail’s Turn 15, a fast left-hander. While the team will release more information later tonight, there are no plans to bring in a new rider for the Qatar GP race this weekend, and all eyes are now on whether Bautista return can return in time for the next MotoGP round, which is on April 3rd at Jerez.
Bautista’s injury is a blow to the Rizla Suzuki squad on this opening round of MotoGP racing. While the team isn’t discussing the issue of whether Bautista will need a replacement rider for Jerez, possibly one John Hopkins, the little over two-weeks time between the Qatar GP and the Spanish GP would seem to suggest that barring some miracle, Bautista would need to be replaced for part of the 2011 season.
Rizla Suzuki’s connection to the Crescent Racing Bristish Superbike team, via Paul Denning, could see the former-MotoGP rider tapped for the job, as Hopper doesn’t begin the BSB series until April 22nd, and would be available for MotoGP’s stop at Jerez.
However the 2011 British Superbike calendar comes in conflict with MotoGP’s schedule at the Portugese GP, with the Oulton Park round being held the same weekend. Accordingly Rizla would need another rider, or to have Bautista back (assuming he misses Jerez), before the round in Estoril in order to race on the Iberian peninsula.
Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved