Valentino Rossi has had a major setback ahead of the most crucial period of the 2017 Motogp season and ahead of his home race this weekend at Mugello after suffering injuries in a motocross crash.
Rossi crashed while training on a motocross bike at the Crossodromo Cavallara, a circuit located some 30 miles from his home in Tavullia last Thursday, suffering abdominal and chest injuries. He was admitted to hospital in Rimini before being discharged the following day.
His team have yet to explain exactly what injuries the Italian has suffered, but say that no bones were broken in the crash.
The incident comes at a crucial part of the 2017 season, with four races in the next five weeks thanks to back-to-back rounds in Mugello, Barcelona, Assen and Sachsenring. Adding insult to injury is Rossi’s performance last time out in Le Mans, where he finally showed the pace to run with Maverick Viñales at the front of the field for the first time this season before crashing out on the final lap.
The nine-time world champion is not a regular on a motocross bike, since a shoulder injury in early 2010 left his entire season in disarray.
Crashing early in the year and damaging tendons and ligaments, Rossi nearly withdrew from the championship race early to undergo surgery after being left in near-constant pain. He eventually had it operated on in November of the same year, days after making his Ducati debut at Valencia.
Since then Valentino has largely followed in the footsteps of his American heroes and switched his training to flat track riding, most famously at the VR46 Moto Ranch that he built outside his home town of Tavullia and that he regularly uses for training with his VR46 Academy riders.