Valentino Rossi might miss the final two races of the MotoGP campaign in Estoril and Valencia to undergo surgery on his badly damaged right shoulder.
Rossi hinted that he would opt for surgery after the forthcoming series of back-to-back flyaway races in Japan, Malaysia and Australia after he slumped to a frustrating and disappointing sixth place in Spain.
The 31-year-old was never in serious contention for only his fourth podium finish of the season and The nine-times world champion said:
"This was a very difficult race for us; we had a lot of problems all weekend and I was very slow in the race. I had to try to arrive to the end but I couldn't do better than sixth.
"All the Yamahas have suffered here but my shoulder problems made it even worse for me and this, combined with the problems with our package at this track, made it extra hard. It is both my shoulder and the bike here because in this track everybody on the M1 had some problems, including Jorge.
"The big problem for me s that I cannot ride like I want and we made a setting for the race for less pain and not for the best performance."
Rossi said his shoulder had been more painful than in previous races because he had opted not to take painkillers ahead of the 23-lap encounter.
He added: “I raced without any painkillers because I decided to have little bit of pain and not take anything.
"But even without pain I don't have any more power, so it is not just a pain problem. My real problem is the power in the shoulder, not the pain."
If Rossi did opt to have surgery then it will definitely mean he won’t make his Ducati debut until next February at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.