Valentino Rossi is expecting to “suffer” in Sunday’s MotoGP race at Motorland Aragon as he competes just 23 days after suffering a double leg-break in a training accident.
Rossi was forced to miss the last race at Misano due to the injury and was expected to miss the Aragon Grand Prix, only to make a shock return and be cleared by MotoGP’s medical staff on Thursday.
Rossi qualified a remarkable third on Saturday for Yamaha, less than two-tenths of a second behind pole-sitting teammate Maverick Viñales, surprising himself in the process.
“It’s a surprise for me and us, because I didn’t know what to expect,” Rossi said.
“A week ago I started to think maybe it was possible to ride here, and I did some laps with the R1 [bike] thinking it could be possible but with some pain. But the leg has improved every day.
“My position on the bike isn’t perfect but quite close to the normal one, at first we changed some things but now I’m using the normal footpeg and seat position and for sure it’s better.”
Despite impressing in qualifying, Rossi is less hopeful of his chances across a race distance, but is ready to give his all in the race.
“We still need to work a bit because with the race tire my pace isn’t fantastic but we’ll try,” Rossi said.
“On Friday morning when I woke up I was in pain, then this morning when I woke up it was better. So if tomorrow continues in the same way, I can do the race.
“But the bike is a bit more demanding on the race tires. For sure I have to suffer, but I’ll try.”