Rossi breaks leg at Mugello

Championship hopes dashed as Italian maestro crashes out of free practice

VALENTINO ROSSI has suffered a broken right tibia during this morning's free practice from Mugello, Italy.

Valentino Rossi Mugello crash video.

The nine-time world champion's hope of retaining this year's MotoGP title must now be in doubt after the Italian crashed out of the hour-long session.

From Fiat Yamaha:

"Valentino Rossi has suffered a displaced and exposed fracture of his right tibia after crashing in FP2 in Mugello."

Rossi was taken to hospital by helicopter and will undergo surgery as soon as posssible.

Naturally, the Italian will take no further part in the weekend's event.

It will be the first race Rossi has missed since 31 March 1996.

Experts say he may miss the next four races.