SEBASTIEN TORTELLI UPDATE: HOW IT AFFECTS AMERICA
ÿÿÿÿWhen Sebastien Tortelli dislocated his hip at the Portuguese Grand Prix, putting him out of action for two months because of overstrained ligaments in the hip, the injury had other effects on KTM’s racing plans. ÿAlthough a scan has indicated that there are no other ligament or bone injuries, Tortelli will miss the German GP (May 7), Japanese GP (May 21), Bulgaria GP (June4), Italian GP (June 11) and maybe the British GP (June 18), but he plans to be back in action for the last six or seven MX1 races of the season.
ÿÿÿÿTortelli returned to Europe from the USA with a clause in his KTM contract that said that if he won the MX1 (450) World Championship he would be given full support to race in the 450 class in the USA in 2007. With Tortelli’s injury (and the sudden departure of American team manager Larry Brooks) it looks like KTM will be delaying any plans to enter the 450 class in the AMA series next year. Brooks had expressed hope that KTM would move up from the 250F-based team they have now to a full-time 450 squad?but current events seem to imply that that plan has been back burnered.
ÿÿÿÿAs for Sebastien, he said: “Of course, on the one hand, I am bitterly disappointed…especially for the team. They’ve always give me their full support. They’ve protected me from negative situations and thanks to the unbelievable dedication of the technical staff, they’ve always supplied me with the best possible bike. We were totally on track in Portugal and right up to my fall we were absolutely competitive. Fortunately I don’t have any pain and I want to get back to my team and racing as soon as I can.”
ÿÿÿÿDespite the setback, Georges Jobe, team boss for the KTM MX1 Factory Team also takes a positive view concerning the quest for victory in the World Championships. “Even though we were shocked about Sebastien’s accident and injury, working constantly to be up front and achieving a top result in Portugal means that we were right there where we wanted to be. Sebastien’s injury is a setback but the current situation will bond the team and make us stronger. Even after Sebastien’s accident, which can happen to any rider in any race, the whole KTM team still totally dedicated to the coming races. Jonathan Barragan made a huge improvement in Portugal on his new bike and celebrated his first podium place. In particular, the development of the new 450SXF delivered excellent results and this was a big success for the whole team. Mickael Pichon, who unfortunately is out at the moment with some health problems, is receiving full support from all the KTM team. Meanwhile the MX2 and MX3 Teams have more than demonstrated that we are on the right track and have been setting one record after another in their classes. And of course we are already looking forward to Sebastien’s quick return to the team and racing.”
ÿÿÿÿThe KTM MX1 team will hit the racing circuit next at the German Grand Prix in Teutschenthal on May 6-7.