Rossi title defence over as he breaks leg

Mugello: MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi`s title defence was over on Saturday after he fractured his right leg in a crash during practice for the Italian Grand Prix and was ruled out for several months.

The complicated break, involving his shin and fibula, meant he needed a three-hour operation after being flown from the Mugello circuit to a Florence hospital.

"The operation was perfectly successful. The recovery time is around four to five months," doctor Roberto Buzzi told reporters.

The 31-year-old Yamaha rider was third fastest with 15 minutes remaining in Saturday`s final practice session when he was thrown from his bike and suffered a nasty landing.

He had trouble getting up and was eventually carried away on a stretcher to be checked over by medical staff, who diagnosed the injury.

"I`m calm, they will do the best they can," Rossi, sporting a new Mohican haircut, was quoted as saying by Italian media before going for surgery.

The MotoGP season finishes with the Valencia Grand Prix on Nov. 7 and Rossi may not be fit for that.

The nine-times motorcycling world champion, mulling a future move into rallying or Formula One, is second in this season`s standings after three races with Yamaha team mate Jorge Lorenzo leading the way.

Rossi was fastest in Friday`s first practice for his beloved home race but had complained he was still suffering shoulder problems which had hampered him in the early rounds of the season. (Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by Alison Wildey

Bureau Report

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