Valentino Rossi will attempt to keep his MotoGP championship hopes alive after deciding to travel to Aragon for this weekend’s grand prix in an attempt to race fewer than three weeks after breaking his leg in an accident.
Rossi suffered a double leg fracture at the start of the month after a crash while riding an enduro bike, an injury that forced him to undergo surgery and miss the Grand Prix of Misano two weeks ago.
The surgeon who operated on the nine-time world champion predicted a recovery time of well over a month, with Rossi expected to be sidelined for around 40 days that would effectively end his championship hopes.
But after taking part in two test sessions this week on a Yamaha YZF-R1M – a downgraded version of his M1 MotoGP specification – and completing a combined 27 laps, the 38-year-old will travel to Aragon where he will have to pass a medical examination to deem him fit to ride.
“Fortunately, yesterday I had a good test with my YZF-R1M in Misano,” Rossi said on Wednesday. “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 Aragon 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.”
Yamaha originally slated World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark to fill in for Rossi at Aragon, having elected to run a one-rider team last time out in Misano with Maverick Vinales. But with Rossi in touching distance of the lead trio in the MotoGP standings, trailing joint-leaders Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso by 42 points, the Italian will attempt to keep his hopes alive by taking part n practice on Friday – providing he is given medical clearance to do so.
“After 17 days of recovering, Rossi got his first laps in at Misano last Monday and Tuesday, before undergoing a medical examination today,” a Yamaha statement said. “Following the check-up, the Italian decided to make his way to Aragon in order to try to participate in this weekend's race.
“He will have to successfully complete a mandatory physical check by the MotorLand Aragon chief medical officer to be declared fit to take part in the weekend.”
Should he be given the green light, Rossi could compete in Sunday’s grand prix, 20 days after suffering the injury.