Fight­ing for a speedy re­turn

Bid for early re­turn hits buf­fers as re­place­ment rider is called in

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page - By Si­mon Pat­ter­son MO­TOGP RE­PORTER @Mc­n­sport mo­tor­cy­cle­news

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.”

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