Rossi Evaluating Shoulder Recovery Aboard Ducati WSBK Machine At Misano

Question marks continue to hang over the Italian Dream combination of Valentino Rossi and Ducati, as Rossi's recovery from shoulder surgery is proceeding at a much slower pace than the Italian had hoped for. Rossi had voiced these fears at the Ducati's Wrooom! launch event in Italy two weeks ago, telling the assembled press that he did not expect to be at full fitness until the end of April at the earliest.

That would be a problem for Ducati, as the 2011 season is due to get underway with the first official test of the MotoGP test of the season at Sepang next Tuesday, and the first race of the season on March 20th at Qatar. There is still a lot of work to do between Sepang and Qatar, and Ducati are eager to hear from Rossi about the changes that have been made to the Desmosedici GP11 based on his input. But with Rossi's shoulder still questionable, there are doubts as to how much feedback Rossi can provide.

To assess this situation ahead of the Sepang test, the nine-time World Champion is currently testing at Misano. As Rossi is banned from testing a MotoGP bike, Ducati have laid on a WSBK-spec 1198 for Rossi to ride, and the Italian is using the occasion to put his shoulder through a thorough workout, to see how well it will hold up while riding a racing motorcycle. News is yet to emerge from the test, but a statement is expected after Rossi finishes work for the day.

This is the second time that Rossi has ridden a World Superbike machine. The Italian rode a Yamaha YZF-R1 at Brno to test his fitness last summer, before assessing whether he could make a comeback from the broken leg he suffered in a violent highside at Mugello. Rossi has repeatedly asserted his intention to compete in a World Superbike race, and his switch to Ducati was regarded by some as making a WSBK wildcard appearance possible.

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Wish him to get well as fast as possible and hope therefore the show won't suffer from he missing (though we are lucky to have a bunch of top riders that will keep up the competition anyway)

Do you honestly think he's gonna jepordise further damage by going for broke?
By all accounts it won't be HEALED for a while and in the meantime he's got a job to do, starting next week.

Biaggi set a 1.36.6 in Race 2 there last year, will be interesting to see the comparison. I know Rossi is still not 100%, 1st time riding that bike, its only 8 deg C on track etc but still interested to see how his times stack up.

If it would have risked damaging the shoulder further. Having had a few "adventures" with surgery and sport - It may have been a good thing to help break up the scar tissue that forms after surgery like this - and to get a better range of movement - you'd be amazed at the the things Physical therapist do under the guise of Therapy to break up scar tissues. It can be painful.

Anyway, perhaps we;ll find out in a week?

Didn't Rossi also ride a WSBK spec R1 at Misano last year before the Brno outing? Or was that a road bike?

He certainly did, but this is his 1st time on a Ducati WSB.

As for carbon brakes on the R1 he rode last year, don't remember that they fitted those tbh, would be a bit laboursome designing brakes for a quick runaround test that you wouldn't ever be able to use again. Unless they somehow modified the Gp ones..

Would it have made more sense for Rossi to ride a Desmosedici RR, which would presumably be closer to a GP bike, or would that still be outside the rules?

The thing about the Desmo RR is that it is very much a road bike - though a very exclusive one - which has never been raced. Though based on Ducati's 990 MotoGP bike, it is a very long way from being a race bike.

The reason for choosing a Ducati 1198SP is that Ducati has many Terabytes of data from all of the racing and testing they have done with the bike. They know exactly how it behaves, and how it works. The only unknown in this situation is the rider, which is exactly what you want when you are assessing physical fitness. Using a Desmo RR would have inserted too many variables into the equation, making assessing Rossi's state very difficult. 

Let's face it, 73 days have passed since the shoulder operation and on the Wroom event he was snowboarding, then he had two ‘for the show’ races. I think he would never do that if there is an even a slight possibility that his actions would undermine the comming season.

I think he's ready, maybe not 100%, but ready enough, everything else is…

But your thoughts around this make perfect sense that they would bring out the 1198 instead.

My other thought - if Ducati really thought he would not be able to provide feed back for the test would they get Troy Bayless on the bike for proper evaluation? he can certainly ride it at race pace.

Here's a very short clip of rossi today. The Pre-ride ritual is different?