Rossi: Early MotoGP return "not for the championship"

Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi says his 2017 title hopes are not the motivation behind his earlier-than-expected return to MotoGP track action at Aragon.

Rossi: Early MotoGP return "not for the championship"

Having successfully passed the on-track fitness test at the Spanish venue, the Italian will be back to riding the Yamaha YZR-M1 during Friday practice.

This will be 22 days on from Rossi breaking his right leg in a motocross training accident – and despite his minimal recovery time having been initially estimated as “30-40 days”.

Rossi, who has already missed the Misano race due to his injury, sits fourth in the standings, 42 points off the championship lead – with 150 up for grabs in the five remaining grands prix.

However, the 38-year-old insists his desire to win another MotoGP title has not played a major part in the decision on when to make his comeback.

“It's not for the championship,” he insisted. “I think that everything is open, but especially I think that everything is open for the first three [riders].

“Is not for that, it's because I want to try to come back in a good shape as soon as possible and I think this is the best way.”

He added: “I want to be here, I suffer a lot to lose the Misano race.”

Despite Rossi playing down his title aspirations, team manager Lin Jarvis argued that the Italian could take inspiration from the way the Formula 1 title battle had turned at last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

Speaking about Rossi's comeback, Jarvis said: “I think you can look at his career and you can even ask: 'Why is he still riding?'

“He loves this sport, he is a racer. We still have five races to go where anything can happen, as we’ve seen in F1. Who would expect that? Now suddenly Lewis [Hamilton] has a huge jump on the Ferraris that should have been reversed and you never know what’s going to happen.

“There are obviously three riders ahead of Valentino in the championship, but you never know. Until it’s mathematically of physically impossible, he will still be there and he will still be pushing.”

"Don't know my level"

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Rossi felt that riding at Aragon was crucial to his preparations for MotoGP's subsequent flyaway sequence, comprising races at Motegi, Phillip Island and Sepang.

“For sure in Aragon will be very very difficult to also finish the race, but is very important to not lose another one, also because after you have three weeks before Motegi," he said.

“It's also very important for the last part of the season, also for understand what we have to do more precise on the [injured] leg to come back on the top.”

He also said his recovery this time has gone smoother than in the aftermath of the right-leg fracture he had sustained back in 2010.

In that season, he finished a remarkable fourth on his return – but the Italian is reluctant to set any targets for the upcoming Aragon race.

“Last time was a big surprise, I lose the podium in the last lap with [Casey] Stoner, in the last corner maybe, but was a surprise also for me," he recalled.

“Now is a bit different. The level is very high but also the last one is usually 1.5s from pole position. And I don't know my level, need to understand tomorrow.

“Already [to] race, or finish the race, is a good target – and maybe take some point also. But is very early to say, better we speak tomorrow."

Additional reporting by Jamie Klein

shares
comments
MotoGP doctor "perplexed" by Rossi's swift recovery

Previous article

MotoGP doctor "perplexed" by Rossi's swift recovery

Next article

Aragon MotoGP: Marquez tops damp FP1, Rossi P18

Aragon MotoGP: Marquez tops damp FP1, Rossi P18
Load comments
Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Prime

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Prime

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021
Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home Prime

Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home

OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the track's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future

MotoGP
Aug 26, 2021
How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP Prime

How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP

The 2020 MotoGP season was an enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if you thought the world championship was a poorer place without Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape.

MotoGP
Aug 23, 2021
The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP Prime

The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP

The headlines after MotoGP's Austrian GP were naturally dominated by Brad Binder's heroics on slicks in the rain. But although seventh was, on the face of it, a fairly average result in the context of his season, that Fabio Quartararo was in contention for victory before the rain at Yamaha's worst venue should sound alarm bells for his rivals

MotoGP
Aug 17, 2021
Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales - but won't fix his big problem Prime

Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales - but won't fix his big problem

The prelude to Maverick Vinales' move to Aprilia has been his tortured exit from Yamaha. But the Spanish rider must put allegations of sabotage, suspensions and unwanted personnel changes aside once he embarks upon his new journey, while Aprilia must find a way to get Vinales firing on all cylinders once again

MotoGP
Aug 16, 2021