Racing legend Valentino Rossi has today confirmed that he will attempt to race at this weekend’s MotoGP round in Aragon, Spain, less than three weeks after breaking his tibia and fibula in an off-road training accident.
The Italian had a metal rod inserted to the broken bones immediately after the accident, but was expected to be out for at least 30 days. Yamaha initially announced that world superbike rider Michael van der Mark would substitute for Rossi, who missed the last race at his home circuit of Misano, but with a 10th world title still a possibility in 2017, The Doctor has vowed to defy the pain and attempt to race in Spain.
To test his fitness, Rossi cut some laps on a production based Yamaha YZF-R1 at Misano yesterday. After 20 laps of the track, the MotoGP veteran feels that he is at least able to make an attempt to ride in Friday’s opening practice session. He said: “Fortunately, yesterday I had a good test with my YZF-R1M in Misano. I tried also the day before, but the rain stopped me after a few laps. Yesterday I managed to complete 20 laps and find the answers I was looking for. Eventually, the test was positive and I want to say thanks to Dr. Lucidi and his staff, who helped me find the best solutions to feel the least amount of pain possible in my leg when I’m riding. Obviously at the end of the test I was in a little bit of pain, but this morning I went to Dr. Pascarella for a medical check, and it came out with a positive result. At the end I decided I will leave for Aragón and will try to ride my M1 this weekend. If I will be declared fit to ride, I’ll have the real answer after FP1, because riding the M1 will be a much bigger challenge. We’ll see. See you in Aragon!”
In order to take part, Rossi must first pass a medical test upon arrival in Aragon. Van der Mark will remain on standby and should Rossi be denied permission to race, or elect to withdraw after completing practice, the Dutchman will be thrown in for a baptism of fire – having never ridden the MotoGP bike before.
“Though it remains uncertain if I will get to ride the YZR-M1 this weekend, I’m still looking forward to it,” added Van der Mark. “While I would like to get to step aboard the YZR-M1, I’m also fully supporting Valentino making his return. I’ll either get to make my MotoGP debut or, should I not be able to ride, I will get to see Valentino live in action as he makes his comeback. As I said earlier, I’ve not been able to ride a MotoGP bike before the Grand Prix kicks off so, if Valentino ends up withdrawing from the Aragón GP, I will have to jump in at the deep end at the start of the next session and just try my best. However, after securing my first WorldSBK podium of the 2017 season in Portimão, I’m having a good momentum to step up to the challenge. I want to thank Yamaha again for giving me this opportunity. I’m sure it will be a good experience either way.”
First practice for the Aragon GP takes place this Friday morning and can be seen live on BT Sport or through the official MotoGP website – www.motogp.com