Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi has said he is anticipating another tough physical challenge in this weekend’s Japanese MotoGP clash at the Twin Ring Motegi.
The Italian continues to be seriously hindered by the right shoulder he first damaged during a motocross training accident in April and is expecting another demanding race in the Far East.
Motegi is dominated by a series of hard braking points that are likely to put extra stress on Rossi’s weakened shoulder.
The Fiat Yamaha rider’s shoulder has become such an issue that he might withdraw from the championship after the forthcoming Japan, Malaysia and Australia flyaway races to undergo surgery.
That would mean him missing the final two races in Estoril and Valencia and would also prevent him from riding for Ducati until early February.
Rossi struggled to a lowly sixth place at the previous round at the Motorland Aragon track in Spain and he said: “Aragon was a hard weekend, both because we couldn't find the right setting for our M1 and because I had a lot of trouble with my shoulder.
"The leg is now almost back to normal again - I have even started running - but the shoulder is a problem and we know now that this is not going to change until we have time to treat it properly.
"I have some great memories from Motegi, especially winning the championship in 2008, but I am expecting this weekend to be quite difficult on my body.
"We have a hard three weeks ahead but after this race two of my best tracks are coming up, and I am hoping for some good results. We will do our best and see what happens.”