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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 06:32 GMT 07:32 UK
Kato still in coma
Track officials rush Kato to hospital after his crash
Kato is stretchered away from the scene of the accident
MotoGP rider Daijiro Kato remains in a critical condition three days after hitting a wall during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

The 26-year-old Japanese rider was rushed to hospital by helicopter and is in a coma with serious head, chest and neck injuries after skidding off on the second lap.

"He has not shown any change since Sunday," a Suzuka circuit spokesman said on Tuesday. "He continues to remain unconscious."

"Daijiro Kato ... is fighting for his life," admitted race medical director Claudio Macchiagodena after Sunday's accident.

"Only quick treatment from the Suzuka medical staff saved his life.

"His heart was beating when he arrived at the hospital but he is in a coma and fighting for his life," Macchiagodena added.

The accident occurred in a braking zone on an approach to a chicane at Suzuka.

The opening race of the MotoGP season was won by Valentino Rossi.

Rossi had called the bend where Kato crashed "too dangerous" over the weekend.

The Italian said after the race: "[The win] is special for Honda and 25 points for me at the beginning of the championship is important. But after hearing about Kato nothing is very important.

"The victory means nothing at the moment and all our thoughts are with Kato-san."

Race director Paul Butler said organisers had yet to determine the cause of the crash.




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