Fighting for a speedy return
Bid for early return hits buffers as replacement rider is called in
Valentino Rossi’s hopes of returning to Motogp action just three weeks after surgery to have his broken leg pinned have been quashed, after he conceded that he will be forced to miss the Aragon GP in ten days’ time.
The nine-time world champion broke his leg while training on his enduro bike and had hoped that a return at the Spanish race might be on the cards. But he was forced to admit this week that the chances of an Aragon return were beyond slim.
Dutchman Michael van der Mark is already lined up to step in but Yamaha team boss Lin Jarvis says it is for Rossi to decide when he is fit to return.
Speaking from the sidelines during the weekend’s Misano race, only 12 miles from his home, he said he was able to rely on experience this time round to gauge his progress, after suffering a similar injury in 2010.
He said: “In this phase of the recovery, you have to take it day-byday. It depends very much on how the leg feels, how much pain there is. We’re already working hard and we’re trying to come back as soon as possible. The next race after Misano is Aragon, but I think it would have been very hard to be back in time for that because it’s just 22 days after the injury – and three weeks is not enough.
“We need closer to double that time. Last time I came back after 40 days. But this time the fracture is better, much less painful, but it is very early to say. If I’m not ready for Aragon, I’ll be back in Motegi.
“The leg is painful but in general I feel good, but the mental pain is a lot worse! It was a great, great shame throwing away all the chances for the championship and the chance to race in front of all my home fans in Misano.”
That timeline may also have been affected by the weekend’s on-track action with strong finishes from key rivals meaning Rossi now lies some 42 points adrift of the leaders.
The Italian also revealed for the first time how the training crash happened. He is adamant that despite the severity of the break, just below the knee of his right leg, that it wasn’t done while riding hard or racing, but simply during a day out.
“I was with all my friends on an enduro bike, making a tour around the hills behind Urbino in the countryside. It’s a thing that I’ve done since I was 18 together with my father for a long, long time. Very close to the end, in one downhill section at very low speed, I lost the steering, and I put my foot on the ground to avoid a crash. But it was a bit downhill, and all the weight of the bike went on my leg and it broke.”
The fall marks the second time this season that a training crash has affected Rossi’s preparation for racing – he also suffered a motocross crash before Mugello. Despite that, he was insistent that although they might need to modify the approach, there is no better way to prepare for Motogp than riding motorbikes.
“We always speak a lot about this, but for us we are motorcycle riders and the best training is to ride. Unfortunately, though, sometimes when you are on a bike it is dangerous. We cannot train without them because it is very important, but it’s happened to me twice this year now so we need to find another way.”