When Valentino Rossi spoke to the press after struggling to a 6th place finish in the MotoGP race at Motorland Aragon, he revealed just how bad his shoulder problem has been. The Italian injured his shoulder in a training accident back in April, and since then has struggled with a painful and weak shoulder. Rossi's problems have been disguised in part by his broken leg, which he suffered so spectacularly at Mugello, and which caused the Italian to miss races for the first time in his professional career.
Rossi had hoped that the injury would improve sufficiently to see out the 2010 season, but after the race at Aragon, he told the press that he was seriously considering having surgery to correct the problem, and miss the last two races of the season at Estoril and Valencia. Rossi said he would first test his fitness at the next three flyaway rounds at Motegi, Sepang, and Phillip Island in October, before making a final decision on having surgery.
Here's what Rossi had to say to the press:
Question: How much of what we saw today was down to the shoulder?
Valentino Rossi: Yes, very much. But it is something altogether, because also at this track, everybody have some problem with the M1, Jorge also. But for me, this is a big problem because I cannot ride like I want, and we make the setting more so I have less pain than for the best performance.
Q: So there must be a temptation that if you cannot perform better than this with a shoulder like this...
VR: Yes. I think we have to try to race at the next three races [Motegi, Sepang and Phillip Island]. Unfortunately we have Motegi in front, which is the worst track for the shoulder. But after we have Australia and Sepang where we have to try to race, especially because I rode in Sepang with the same bike when I was fit, so is interesting to understand, and after Australia and Sepang we will find a decision.
Q: Does that mean there's a possibility that you'll have an operation before the end of the season?
VR: At this moment, we only decide to go to the next three races, and after we will decide about the last two.
Q: Will you postpone the operation and continue riding if it doesn't make it worse?
VR: No, the shoulder doesn't become worse, it isn't damaged when I ride the bike, it remains constant.
Q: You'll race at Phillip Island?
VR: Yes, I think so, Phillip Island and Sepang are very important. For this moment, we decide to race at the three.
Q: But if something got worse during the three, you may change?
VR: We don't know. We don't know. We will wait to see the performance, because it looks like I cannot ride like I want, and I'm not fast enough anyway. But like I say, Phillip Island and Sepang are good tracks for to understand 100% if I am in a good way to finish the season, and maybe to try the bike after Valencia.
Q: Is this type of result the best you can do at the moment?
VR: Today? Yes. But in Misano, I was fast, and was not so bad. But I am sure that our M1 will be more competitive in the next races.
Q: Lorenzo said he's going to have a new engine in Japan. Will you have a new engine too?
VR: I think that if the engine is ready, I will have it.
Q: It looks like the shoulder is very painful now, from the way you're standing.
VR: After the race a little bit, yes. Because today, I race without painkillers. Because I decided to have a little bit of pain and not take anything, because anyway, also without pain, I don't have more strength. So it's just a pain problem. But my real problem is the strength, not the pain.
Q: How long is the recovery for the surgery?
VR: Two months.
Q: Have you been surprised at how big a problem the shoulder has been? Were you expecting it to recover more quickly?
VR: Yes, for sure yes! The problem is that we understand that the problem of the shoulder is not one problem, but two problems. And the second one gives me more problems when I ride the bike.
Q: What's your point of view about the horsepower of the Yamaha when compared to the others?
VR: For me, our bike is a little bit more slow, it also was before, compared to Honda and Ducati. But it looks like Honda and Ducati had more problem with the front then, and our bike is more balanced. It looks like now our bike is not worse, but that Honda and Ducati fix the problem. This is the problem for us.
Q: How do you manage mentally this problem? You are used to winning so often.
VR: I know that I am not at the maximum, so I'm sad, but not desperate.
Q: With the engine situation the way it is, do you have to take more risks on the Yamaha to be at the front now? Does Jorge have to take more risks?
VR: Yes, because what you lose on the straights, you have to recover in the corners. But it will be very difficult when you have people like Stoner and Pedrosa in a good shape with a very good setting. So it is quite impossible, very difficult to improve a lot in the corner and regain what you lose in the straight. But to close, I think this racetrack is very bad for the M1, but the next races will be better.