Suzuki is set to be ruled out of the MotoGP opener in Qatar after its sole rider Alvaro Bautista suffered a fractured femur in a practice crash.
The Spaniard fell heavily at the penultimate corner near the end of the final practice session this evening, and was unable to get to his feet after the accident. He has now been diagnosed with a fractured left femur, and could be flown to Spain for treatment.
Suzuki has cut back to a single bike for Bautista this season. Wary that any injury to the Spaniard could leave it without anyone on the grid, the team has recalled its former rider John Hopkins as an unofficial standby, but he has only tested the bike in a brief filming session last weekend, and has since returned to the U.S.
Hopkins, who has signed to race for Crescent Suzuki in British Superbikes this year, will, however, be the obvious choice substitute for the rest of Bautista's layoff. He last raced in MotoGP with Kawasaki in 2008.