MotoGP: Valentino Rossi crashes, out for two months

Breaking news this morning from the Italian MotoGP is that Valentino Rossi crashed in Free Practice 2 on Saturday morning, and has suffered serious injuries to his right leg and ankle.

Rossi lost control as he turned in to the left-hand element of the medium-speed Biondetti esses, and he was launched into a huge high-side.

Rossi – who has a legendary high pain threshold in the first place – was clearly in agony as he lay in the gravel trap, clutching his right ankle, which was seen to be bent over at a worrying angle. The seven-time and reigning world champion needed to be stretchered away and was reported as under sedation in the medical centre before being airlifted to the Central Traumatological Hospital in Florence.

Official word was that Rossi has suffered “a displaced and exposed fracture of his right tibia” (shinbone), a very serious injury that will require immediate surgery this afternoon on the open wound.

Obviously, Rossi will take no further part in his home Italian MotoGP event; immediate speculation was that this would put him out for at least 2 months, which would be another five races on top of tomorrow’s Italian GP fully a third of the MotoGP season.

If true, that means his title campaign is done with for 2010. Looking further ahead, the concern is whether Rossi – who hasn’t missed a race since 31 March 1996 – will be able physically or have the desire mentally to return to the sport, or whether he won’t see this (together with his recent motocross injuries which have seen him only at 70% in his battle against the rising star of Jorge Lorenzo) as signs that it’s time to call it quits.

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