Team Suzuki Rider Sebastien Tortelli to Undergo Surgery

BREA, Calif. (Dec. 8, 2003) ¿ American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) today announced that Team Suzuki factory rider Sebastien Tortelli will undergo surgery to repair his injured knee and will be unable to compete in the 2004 AMA Supercross Series.

Tortelli has suffered a number of injuries to his left knee over the last five years. While recovering from the most recent surgery, he missed most of the 2003 Supercross and AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship seasons.

“It is very frustrating,” said Tortelli. “I trained so hard and to not be able to race Supercross is very disappointing. I¿ve spoken to the doctors and they are pretty sure they can fix my knee 100 percent. And I don¿t want to race if my knee isn¿t 100 percent. So right now, I¿m focusing on the fact that the doctors think I¿ll make a full recovery. I¿m willing to take the time necessary to recover so that I can race competitively again. “

Tortelli will undergo another surgery this week and he hopes to return to racing midway through the 2004 AMA Motocross season.

“I really feel for Sebastien,” said Suzuki Team Manager Roger DeCoster. “This is very disheartening. We tested Sebastien¿s physical fitness just a few weeks ago and he was stronger than he¿s ever been ¿ on the level of an Olympic athlete. And now he has to have another surgery. It¿s frustrating, but of course Suzuki will stand by Sebastien and support him as he recovers.”