Former 500cc World Motocross Champion Andrea Bartolini, who is currently third in the points standings, yesterday underwent surgery to fix a dislocated pointer finger of his right hand. While racing in the first moto of the International MX race of Brou in France, the Italian got injured coming off a big jump, and in the landing process, he lost control and dislocated the finger. A relocation of the finger was immediately attempted a in-site, but it turned out to be impossible. The operation room remained the only option for the Honda Europe factory rider, who now is expected to wait some 20 days before jumping back on his CRF450R.
The race (run as open formula with bikes from every class racing together) was won by Mickeal Pichon, who got the better of Joel Smets, Stefan Everts and Joshua Coppins.
In other Italian motocross news, three-time 125cc World Champion Alessio "Chicco" Chiodi yesterday discovered that he has a broken vertebra. In the last GP, run in France alsmost two weeks ago, the Italian was involved in a first-corner crash that left him on the ground with a sore back and breathing problems. He went to the hospital right away, but the doctors didn't find any particular damage. Once back home, Chiodi didn't ride for a week, and when last weekend he tried to put in a few laps on his 250cc Chesterfield Yamaha, it proved difficult just to complete a couple of laps. Yesterday morning he went to the Villa Serena Clinic in Forlì, and it was found out that the T4 vertebra is partially broken. Chicco will miss this weekend's Italian GP, and will try to be back in Austria on June 9. With the absence of Bartolini and Chiodi, along with that of Claudio Federici (still recovering from a bad injury incurred at the first Italian National Round in February), Italy will host a GP without its stars (these riders, in fact, comprised the team that in '99 won the MXdN in Brazil).