Gresini Honda's Toni Elias crashed heavily during the first free practice session at Assen, breaking his leg. He is out for the rest of the weekend, according to autosport.com. Elias crashed at exactly the same part of the circuit where Valentino Rossi broke his wrist last year, the fast section into the Ramshoek corner before the final GT chicane. No word as yet of a replacement.
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Dutch news site Racesport.nl is reporting that Elias will be out until Brno. Elias has missed the last two years of racing here with injuries, and his return was very ill-starred indeed.
This leaves the question of a replacement. The most obvious replacement for Elias would be another Hannspree Honda rider. The most obvious name which springs to mind is of course James Toseland. Toseland would certainly be able to fill in for Elias at the Sachsenring, but the following round, at Laguna Seca, clashes with the Brno World Superbike round, which remains Toseland's highest priority. That would leave Gresini looking for a second replacement for Laguna Seca, which could open possibilities for Honda riders currently running in the AMA series.