It was natural that after being released from the CTO hospital in Florence the Fiat Yamaha team would have Valentino Rossi give a long interview about his crash, the injury, prognosis and what he’ll be doing during his recovery and the future.
1. Vale, first question: how are you and are you still in pain?
VR: “The positive thing is that the worst is past and that the two operations went well, so everything is okay. Now I am expecting a difficult period, in which I have to be aware of the risk of infection and in which I must remain with the leg constantly elevated. Then there will come a second key period, when I will be able to start my rehabilitation and, with support on the leg, will be able to start to walk around with crutches.”
2. Dr. Buzzi talked about a rehabilitation period of about five or six m onths, what do you think?
VR: “It’s to be expected that Dr. Buzzi has been very cautious in his prognosis. I want to heal the injury; that is the only thing I’m interested in. If I miss four races or six races, it doesn’t make any difference. The right time to return could be Brno, but it won’t necessarily be like this.”
3. Do you remember the accident?
VR: “I remember everything perfectly. I didn’t hit my head, I didn’t hit anything else. The airbag in my leathers worked very well and my helmet was just slightly scratched. I don’t have a single bruise! The problem was that I landed on my leg, and it was stuck under my body. If I had landed on my back it would have been different. I had a new tyre and I’d done two laps, then I slowed down because I had Barbera behind me. When I came back onto the racing line Pedrosa arrived and I didn’t want to cause a problem for him so I moved again but then when I reopened the gas, it happened suddenly and unexpectedly. Seven seconds were enough to make the tyre drop temperature dramatically. The error was mine.”
4. Who would you like to thank?
VR: “First of all I want to thank Professor Buzzi of the CTO Careggi in Florence and all of his staff, because they were brilliant. Fortunately, doing it at Mugello meant I wasn’t far from the Careggi and this was very lucky. I also want to thank everybody else at the Careggi and all the nurses because they treated me so well, then the staff at the Clinica Mobile and the marshals and officers at the Mugello circuit. Finally, a big hello and particular thanks to all the fans because never, not even for a second, have they let me forget their affection and support. The messages I saw on Sunday on television from the circuit were beautiful.”
5. At any time since the accident has there been a moment when you have said “stop racing motorcycles”?
VR: “Sincerely, I haven’t felt any fear. I was a bit horrified when I saw the leg, yes…but the thing I dislike the most is to miss so many races! I will take all the time I need and be sure not to do anything stupid because I want to return quickly, but only if my condition allows it. I know I have a bike for next year and I don’t need to rush my return to demonstrate anything. I could miss just four races but I still wouldn’t come back to win the championship. It’s better to be careful, finish the rehabilitation in the best way and come back to race for many more years. I’ve heard of many other sportsmen, a lot in fact, who have had the same problem as me. One example for everyone: Mark Webber called me and he has had an exposed fracture of the right leg. He told me to be very patient and that I would have some moments of discomfort, but that in the end recovery was guaranteed.”
6. Now you have some time at home to rest and to think…
VR: “Yes, now I have a lot of time at home to rest, to recover and to think. Firstly, I want to use this time to improve some things. I want to improve my English, learn something new, read a lot. Basically, I want to improve and learn. This I will do for sure. If your question instead is referring to 2011, this incident will not influence my choices for next year in any way. Last Saturday hasn’t changed anything. I just have one broken leg extra! The result of 2010, therefore, has never been relevant to my decisions for the future.”
7. During your enforced rest, will you also be working on your injured shoulder?
VR: “Definitely, yes. This is one of the few positive things about this incident; finally I can work on the rehabilitation of the shoulder, in no hurry, without operations and without races. From tomorrow I will restart the exercises, lying on my bed, and I am certain that when I return the shoulder will be completely recovered. When I come back I will be in perfect shape, although it won’t mean that I can win straight away. When you return after an enforced break you not only have to think about the body, but also the mind. I won’t be able to come back and win immediately.”