Valentino Rossi plans to ride at this weekend’s MotoGP race at Aragon, despite breaking his leg in two places only three weeks ago.
Rossi fractured his right tibia and fibula in a training accident at the end of August, cracking up while riding off-road. At the time, the Yamaha factory rider was close in the title fight, holding fourth place. Because the Italian GP was such a crash-fest, Rossi’s still in fourth with 157 points, with Honda factory rider Marc Marquez sitting in first at 199 points.
Counting this weekend, there are still five races left in the MotoGP season, so while Marquez’s 42-point lead will be tough to erase, it’s not impossible. The Spanish ace has had his own share of crashes this year, and Rossi knows a comeback would be unlikely for him, but not impossible.
But to do that, Rossi needs any point he can get. It’s highly unlikely he’d challenge for the podium this weekend, but to even finish in the top 10 would give him some much-needed points and a faint hope of beating Marquez, the rider who Rossi figures cost him the 2015 title.
To race this weekend, Rossi must first pass a medical check-up. (Update: As of Thursday morning, Rossi has passed the medical check-up – Ed. ). He’s already been on-track, riding a Yamaha R1 at the start of the week, so he can physically ride the bike, although it’s undoubtedly quite painful.
If, after practice sessions, Rossi decides he isn’t able to race, Yamaha does have Michael Van Der Mark waiting as a backup. Van Der Mark just grabbed his first World Superbike podium for 2017 aboard the R1, but he hasn’t been out in the factory MotoGP bike yet. It would be his first start, in front of a huge crowd at Aragon.