Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP return ‘bloody great’

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Valentino Rossi’s Aussie crew chief Jerry Burgess has told MCN the Italian’s MotoGP comeback in Germany this weekend is ‘bloody great’ for the world championship.

Having missed the last four races with the broken right leg he suffered in practice for last month’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, Rossi intends to make his much anticipated return to racing at the Sachsenring this weekend.

After testing a Yamaha R1 World Superbike machine in Misano last week and Brno on Monday, Rossi has opted to return from injury in Germany having been declared fit after medical checks in Italy today. 

Rossi needs final approval from the Sachsenring’s medical staff, but the 31-year-old is scheduled to return to his Fiat Yamaha YZR-M1 machine way ahead of schedule.

He had initially targeted a comeback at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic on August 15.

But his recovery has been so rapid that will be back on board a YZR-M1 just 41 days after suffering a compound fracture of his right tibia bone after a high-speed practice crash in Mugello.

And nobody is looking forward to being reunited with the Italian icon than his Yamaha crew, led by Burgess.

Speaking to MCN in the Sachsenring paddock this afternoon, Burgess said: “We’re looking forward to seeing him and seeing him back on the bike on Friday afternoon and getting on with the job. It’s bloody great and it seems like everything has gone exceptionally well and the doctors in Italy are obviously very happy.

"He has to have a final medical check in Germany tomorrow and we must remember Casey (Stoner) was prevented from riding in 2006. We’re really keen to get him back and it is a great bonus for the sport and for him that he’s recovered a month earlier than anticipated. It’s been a wonderful recovery.

"He’s obviously done everything right and he’s healed very quickly and I’m sure like Barry Sheene before him, he’s focused a lot of his attention on those first few weeks going very well. He’s now in a position that things have just got better and better.”

Burgess said it would probably take this weekend’s Sachsenring clash and then the Laguna Seca race in California on July 25 for Rossi to regain the form that carried him to a podium finish in each of the opening three races.

But he said he fully expected Rossi to be competitive this weekend and said: “We can expect the television ratings to rise for starters. We saw him start dead last with a broken wrist in Assen and get through to about eighth and a week later he was way down the grid at Donington Park and got through to second.

"I don’t know how demanding it will be to his right leg but we don’t want him to try and risk anything to prove that he can do things. We know what he is capable of but I’m sure we’ll be competitive. He’s coming back with perhaps not all the strength back in his right leg but I don’t think that is going to hamper him that much.

"A lack of match practice might mean it takes him a while to get into it but judging by what we heard from Brno he’s going to be fine. I think Valentino will get out there and if he’s in a position to challenge I’m sure he will be going for it.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt