Valentino Rossi fears his damaged right shoulder will not regain full fitness until early August as he prepares for his crucial home race in Mugello on Sunday.
The reigning world champion admitted feeling under ‘big pressure’ as he goes in search of his tenth victory on home soil while also trying to close a nine-point deficit on Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
But Rossi is worried that the damaged right shoulder he suffered in a motocross training accident in April will continue to hinder him at a crucial part of the season.
Mugello is the start of a sequence of six races in the next eight weeks and after Rossi’s revelation about the seriousness of his shoulder problem, it is unlikely he will be fully fit until after the American GP at Laguna Seca in late July.
Rossi also revealed today that he might require surgery at the end of the 2010 campaign to repair serious ligament and tendon damage in the shoulder.
The 31-year-old, who hasn’t won since the opening race of the campaign in Qatar, said: “The good thing is that we now understand exactly the situation after one-and-half months. Unfortunately it is quite bad. I have damaged the cartilage so the problem is that my shoulder is not 100 per cent stable, I need more time.
"For a normal person it would be three-and-a-half to four months to be 100 per cent. But it is now just one-and-a-half months since the crash. I need to work a lot to improve the muscle to try and keep the shoulder stable to have less pain and more force to ride the bike.
"If it is not possible then at the end of the season I need to make surgery. It is a big problem unfortunately.”
Rossi said the issue was having an impact on his sleep and he was unable to be without pain for two hours after he’s woken up.
He added: “When I wake up in the morning for one-and-a-half hours to two hours I am in a lot of pain. I have problems to sleep at night and then during the day it comes better. For a normal life it is okay. I can drive the car or go to the gym but to ride the bike is difficult and the improvement is very slow."