After Valentino Rossi completed 26 laps of Misano on Wednesday afternoon, to test his fitness after crashing heavily and breaking a tibia at Mugello just over a month ago, the Fiat Yamaha team issued the long-awaited press release reporting the results of that test. Rossi's times were relatively encouraging: a 1'38.2 (though the Italian press is reporting it was a 1'39.3) is not too far off of competitive World Superbike pace. Cal Crutchlow's lap record at Misano - set on exactly the same Yamaha YZF-R1, though with Bridgestone tires rather than Pirellis - was 1'36.546, while the MotoGP lap record, held by Rossi himself, is 1'34.746.
What is clear from the press release is that Rossi feels he is close to the pace, but is still uncertain as to how his leg will hold up under race conditions. What is also clear is that the Italian is utterly determined to race if at all possible. Here's the press release from the Fiat Yamaha team:
VALENTINO ROSSI COMPLETES TEST AT MISANO
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi today rode a motorcycle for the first time since breaking his right leg at Mugello on 5th June. He rode a total of 26 laps at Misano on a YZF-R1 WSB machine, provided by the Yamaha World Superbike Team, and recorded a best time of 1'38.200.
Rossi did an initial run of 11 laps at 18.30 CET with a best time of 1'41.000, then a second run of 15 laps at 19.45 CET with a best time of 1'38.200 (unofficial times).
The reigning World Champion was able to ride well but he had some pain in his leg and his shoulder. He will now continue with an updated rehabilitation programme and make a decision within the next week as to whether he will ride at the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring, in ten days time.
"We made this test in order to understand how we must work from here and to see more or less how I can ride the bike," said Rossi. "The test was positive, because I can at least ride, but there is a lot more to a MotoGP race than to a test like this one. I had some pain in the ankle, the knee and the shoulder, but above all I lacked strength in the shoulder and a bit of movement in the ankle. I would really like to come back at Sachsenring, but it is still too early to say. We still have twelve days and we must wait and see how much we can improve my condition in the next few days. The Superbike today was good and great fun to ride! I really would like to ride at Sachsenring, but we must wait another week before making a decision."