Valentino Rossi believes he might be fit enough to return to the MotoGP world championship at the Czech Republic GP in Brno in the middle of August.
While refusing to fix a definite date for his much-anticipated comeback, the 31-year-old has hinted that his broken right leg might be recovered in time for the Brno clash on August 15.
Rossi will miss at least five races after he broke his right shinbone (tibia) in a horrific crash during final practice for last weekend’s Italian MotoGP race at Mugello.
The Fiat Yamaha rider though confirmed the first serious injury in his illustrious had not dented his desire to return to action and that he had never contemplated retirement in the aftermath of his accident.
And he said he would not rush his return and would only be back on board his factory YZR-M1 when he was physically and mentally prepared.
He said: "Sincerely, I haven't felt any fear. I was a bit horrified when I saw the leg, yes...but the thing I dislike the most is to miss so many races! I will take all the time I need and be sure not to do anything stupid because I want to return quickly, but only if my condition allows it.
"The right time to return could be Brno, but it won't necessarily be like this. I know I have a bike for next year and I don't need to rush my return to demonstrate anything. I could miss just four races but I still wouldn't come back to win the championship.
"It's better to be careful, finish the rehabilitation in the best way and come back to race for many more years. I've heard of many other sportsmen, a lot in fact, who have had the same problem as me.
"One example for everyone: Mark Webber called me and he has had an exposed fracture of the right leg. He told me to be very patient and that I would have some moments of discomfort, but that in the end recovery was guaranteed.
"The positive thing is that the worst is past and that the two operations went well, so everything is okay. Now I am expecting a difficult period, in which I have to be aware of the risk of infection and in which I must remain with the leg constantly elevated.
"Then there will come a second key period, when I will be able to start my rehabilitation and, with support on the leg, will be able to start to walk around with crutches."
Professor Roberto Buzzi, who carried out surgery to insert a pin in Rossi’s right leg, said he would be out of action for six months.
But Rossi played down fears that he would not be seen again in 2010.
He added: “It's to be expected that Dr. Buzzi has been very cautious in his prognosis. I want to heal the injury; that is the only thing I'm interested in. If I miss four races or six races, it doesn't make any difference.”
Rossi also said that his crash would have no impact on his decision about where to race in 2011.
He’d been locked in talks with Yamaha management in the build-up to Mugello about his future with speculation intensifying about a possible shock switch to Ducati.
Rossi added: “This incident will not influence my choices for next year in any way. Last Saturday hasn't changed anything. I just have one broken leg extra! The result of 2010, therefore, has never been relevant to my decisions for the future."