Montoya team deny bike crash rumours

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Juan Pablo Montoya will not compete in Bahrain this weekend, as Formula One heads to the desert track near Al Manama, but team sources have denied rumours that his injury was caused by riding a motocross bike and not the result of a fall during a tennis match.

Montoya is said to have crashed heavily at 50 mph while attempting a jump on one of his beloved motocross bikes and sustained a broken shoulder that could keep him out for up to three races.

"The rumours are not true," a McLaren spokesperson insisted yesterday. "Juan Pablo was playing tennis with his personal trainer in Madrid on Saturday morning when he slipped and fell, causing a minor hairline fracture to his left scapula. Following a number of tests, scans and an examination by one of McLaren's medical consultants, the team have been advised that he should rest to allow for the injury to heal."

Further scans will be carried out in two weeks' time, before the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, which kicks off the European leg of the world championship, to verify the healing process. "At this stage we fully expect Juan Pablo to be able to compete at Imola on 24 April," a McLaren spokesman added.

The team face a problem this weekend. Their Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa, 34, will stand in for Montoya, but the man they really want in the race seat is the Austrian Alexander Wurz, 31. He will drive the third McLaren MP4/20 in tomorrow's tests, but is too tall to fit comfortably enough in the car over a complete race weekend.