Valentino Rossi delays Germany return decision

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Valentino Rossi has delayed his decision on whether he will make a shock comeback in the MotoGP world championship at this weekend’s Sachsenring race in Germany.

Rossi is still unsure about whether to try and ride his factory Fiat Yamaha YZR-M1 machine after he tested an R1 World Superbike machine at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic this afternoon.

The Brno test followed a surprise return to the track in Misano last week, just 32 days after he suffered a broken right leg.

Rossi completed 46 laps at the Brno circuit, clocking a best time of 1.59.135 on a soft Pirelli qualifying tyre. His best lap on race rubber was a 1.59.8.

That was 0.6s slower than Cal Crutchlow’s best on the R1 in the second race in Brno yesterday with the British rider posting a 1.59.291.

Rossi did though lap faster than former Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider James Toseland. Toseland’s best in Sunday’s races was a 2.00.089. Track temperature though was cooler and more conducive to faster lap times today.

Rossi will now consult with doctors in Italy on Wednesday before deciding whether or not he will attempt to race in Germany. If Rossi decides to ride in Germany, he will need final approval from the FIM Chief Medical Officer before he can participate.

Rossi said: “Today was good, I felt better than in Misano but I still feel quite tired after a few laps and a race will be a much bigger question.

"We haven't made the final decision yet, I need to have some more x-rays on Wednesday and then my doctors and I will consider whether I can ride at Sachsenring.

"Once I'd understood my physical condition today, I had great fun riding the R1 and even did some work on the settings!”

Friday’s opening practice session at the Sachsenring will be just 41 days after the nine-times world champion suffered a compound break of his right tibia after a vicious high-side crash during practice for his home race in Mugello in early June.

But the Italian has made a phenomenally quick recovery, aided by regular sessions in a hyperbaric chamber, and he will return to partner runaway world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo way ahead of schedule.

When Rossi suffered the worst injury of his illustrious career in Mugello, he was adamant he would not rush his return or try and make a comeback before he was fully recovered.

His initial target for his return was the Czech Republic MotoGP in Brno on August 15. But many thought he would delay a comeback until his home race in Misano in early September.

Rossi can’t walk without the aid of a crutch and as well as the strength in his right leg a concern, he’s also not fully recovered from the severe ligament damage in his right shoulder that he suffered in a motocross training accident in April.

Rossi could attempt to ride in Friday’s practice session in Germany and then decide he’s not sufficiently recovered to complete the weekend on board his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.

MotoGP rules allow a team to nominate a substitute after first practice, which would be veteran Japanese test rider Wataru Yoshikawa. He is already entered as a substitute and will be present in Germany.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt