Rossi's Verdict On Shoulder After Misano Test: Painful And Weak

Valentino Rossi took to the track today, to assess the state of his shoulder ahead of the resumption of official testing for the MotoGP class next week. Banned from testing a MotoGP bike, Rossi instead tested a WSBK-spec Ducati 1198SP, putting in a respectable 25 laps of the Italian circuit, just a few miles from his home, to judge his strength, mobility and fitness.

The verdict, according to a press release issued by Ducati Corse, is not good, but it is no worse than expected either. "It hurts a lot and isn't very strong," is how Rossi summed up the state of his shoulder after the test, though he added that the test "more or less confirmed what we expected." At Ducati's launch event in Italy, the Italian had told the press that he did not expect to be back at full fitness until May 1st, and this press release confirms those statements.

Just how far these press releases reflect reality remains to be seen, however. Valentino Rossi is notorious for attempting to throw sand in the eyes of his rivals, and many commentators have dismissed Rossi's comments on his shoulder as part of the "mind games" the Italian is notorious for. The theory put forward by the sceptics is that Rossi is trying to downplay expectations, and put the pressure on his rivals. After all, if he is not competitive during testing and at the first race of the year at Qatar, he can claim that his shoulder was the problem; if, on the other hand, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa all take Rossi's words at face value, they will all be focused on one another, rather than on Rossi, giving the Italian the tiniest crack to exploit. If Rossi can win at Qatar - or at least be extremely competitive - Rossi will hope that his rivals will start to doubt their own abilities, worrying that if Rossi can be competitive with a weak shoulder, how fast will he be once he is fit again.

There is certainly reason to keep a few grains of salt on hand when considering Rossi's statements about the state of his shoulder. Before the Wrooom! event at the Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio, Rossi had said that he would not be taking part in the ice kart race traditionally held at the launch. Yet he did more than that, he also raced a Fiat 500 on the ice, as well as doing a spot of snowboarding while he was there. He seemed to manage perfectly well in these physically demanding activities, and finished the event apparently no worse for wear. Snowboarding and kart racing are not the same as riding a motorcycle at speed, but Rossi's shoulder seems at the very least to hold up better on some days than on others.

All this remains speculation, however. Even the upcoming tests at Sepang are unlikely to produce a clear indication, as Rossi's main focus will be on adapting to the Desmosedici GP11, and testing the truckload of new parts that Ducati's technical guru Filippo Preziosi has prepared for the test in Malaysia. Interpreting the times Rossi sets at Sepang will be difficult, unless he is either very, very fast or very, very slow. Given both Rossi's incredible track record in MotoGP and his dismal result at the Valencia test in November of last year, both of those results are possible.

Below is the official press release issued by Ducati, together with photos from the test provided by Ducati Corse:


Misano Circuit: Seventy-three days after an operation to his right shoulder, Valentino Rossi returned to the track at Misano Adriatico aboard a Ducati 1198 Superbike. On November 14 at Cattolica's Cervesi hospital, the Italian had undergone surgery on the supraspinatus tendon and the long head of biceps tendon, as well as cartilage in the Glenoid Labrum.

The day was sunny but chilly, with a maximum air temperature of 10º Centigrade (50º Fahrenheit) and a maximum track temperature of 15º C (59º F). Valentino arrived at the circuit at around 1:20 and met a team of Ducati technicians that included his own crew's two engineers, Matteo Flamigni and Gabriele Conti, as well as Ducati Marlboro Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi. A half-hour later, he turned the first laps aboard the 1198 to test the status of his shoulder which, though recovering nicely, is still quite painful, just a few days ahead of the first test in Malaysia with the Desmosedici GP11.

"First of all, thanks to Filippo (Preziosi) and to Ducati, who organized this test," said Valentino Rossi. "Misano Circuit let us use the track on a day when Mattia (Pasini) was planning to ride in order to confirm his own condition. The track more or less confirmed what we expected: the shoulder is painful—especially under braking, when the front area hurts, where they stitched the tendon. Movement is stable enough, and we're also doing not so bad with endurance, but apart from that, it hurts a lot and isn't very strong. Let's hope it gets a little better in these next few days before the test in Malaysia. Once we're there, we'll work with the riding position in an effort to make the most of the situation and collect important information with the Desmosedici, even though I'm not in top form. Today I did a total of 25 laps on the 1198 Superbike, which is sort of a 'historic' motorcycle for Ducati: beautiful and fast. I liked it!" 

Valentino Rossi testing a Ducati 1198 Superbike at Misano 

Valentino Rossi's Ducati 1198

Rossi at Misano

Rossi on a Ducati 1198 at Misano

Valentino Rossi and Vito Guareschi at Misano

Rossi's Ducati 1198 at Misano

Back to top


...the press and his competition where he wants them: covered. No matter what he does at the test, he's covered.

Genius, yes, but I hope he's healthier than it seems.

I also am in agreement with those who say you don't dig up a seed to check its progress, but then again, keeping scar tissue at bay is vital, too.

To say that I'm conflicted on this to partake in enormous understatement.

Get well soon, VR. 'Nuff said.

but comparison with Hayden as well as the 2 others "Ducati rookies" (RdP and Abraham) times could be interesting.

On another note, how come Pasini was assessing his fitness level at Misano on a Ducati? He's signed in Moto2 and I don't see why Ducati would bother taking care of him...I know he has tested for them once or twice before but he's not on Ducati payroll, any idea David?

"Rossi's lap times may not indicate much" - agreed. On the other hand, it might prove he's not an alien, and "we'll have to wait for nature to take it's course" (Jeremy Burgess).

Hauling in a two wheeler from 2-300kph is surely going to apply different forces through shoulder joints than snow boarding.

"It hurts a lot and isn't very strong." If thats only half true still means that he's going to be handicapped for the first few races ( much as I might wish otherwise).

Remember new tissue has to formed.

me thinks he's just letting this shoulder thing roll on to explain away any poor results on the ducati


If I was a rival I would be planning on racing a competitive Rossi at Quatar irrespective of future reports on the shoulder, test times or anything.
The Ducati has won the last 3 (+1/2) races there and Rossi won there in 2010.
Unless the shoulder is too weak to race hard he will want to win there, first time out, to further the legend.
The circuits after that could be more of a problem.
Is there any word on Pedrosa's recovery?

I think it is expected to be sore and weak. He may be exaggerating the degree to play mind-games, but the fundamental truth of what he is saying I don't doubt.

I also don't think it will be pulling the wool over the eyes of his adversaries. They know him better than anyone else surely, as his competitors/enemies, and so won't be so foolish as to think he is a spent force.

I also think this talk of Rossi mind games is a bit overblown in this case. It isn't as if he is so much smarter than his contemporaries that they wouldn't think of trying the same sort of thing. I think that to use this one is too obvious and of limited value to anyone. They'll see him test and qualify before the first race and will decide for themselves whether he is bullshitting.

Reading between the lines Rossi appears to be complaining more vociferously about the issue now than he did last year.In fact after many races last year he never mentioned the shoulder unless he had a bad result. Lets hope that the op was as reported,a huge success.Heaven forbid they have to work on it again.The Ducati team seem to be downplaying the issue.All of them saying its just a matter of time.
A matter of time it is indeed.The time on the timing sheets that is,between now and race 1. You can bet the other riders will be wholly focused on that rather than any head games Rossi may or may not be playing right now.

Whilst not meaning to belittle a serious post op injury, as many have asserted Rossi is merely providing himself with a form of defence if things don't go to plan early season. Fair enough.

Who do people think these so called 'mind games' are being played against? Certainly not Rossi stiffest opponents. Motorcycle racing on track is an individual sport. Visor down the champion racers give their 100% to win. None of them will barrel into turn one at Qatar thinking 'I've got Rossi covered with his weak shoulder'. No way. They will be completely focused on hitting their braking marks and doing their own thing, and hopefully that is better than the next man.

These mind games comments come from the Rossi fanboys in their fantasy world where Rossi wins Qatar with a breathtaking late braking last corner move on Stoner or Lorenzo. They're just dying to hear one of those two state post race "I guess I underestimated Valentino" In your dreams lads.

A bit out of left field here, BUT, if Rossi realises that he can't win on the Ducati (a big IF I know!) he is smart enough to know that he would rather be remembered in the history books for having failed due to a shoulder injury than to be remembered as one who joined the ranks of several other riders that have had their careers 'ended' by the Ducati.
Is he is laying the foundations for an honourable retreat so to speak.?

Just saying ...........

You don't get to where Rossi is without unwavering belief in yourself. I very much doubt that after riding the Desmo for a couple of days - with a duff shoulder - he has come to the conclusion that he can't ride it.
I doubt he has even considered the possibility, so wouldn't even entertain laying veiled foundations.

his belief in himself is as strong as yours is in him, then you may well be right. lets hope so.

David, I think you should ban all people who use fanboy. For what it's worth I think Nostro has got things back to front anyway.

The comments about him struggling on the duke or that it will work the same at the same tracks it did for stoner don't add up..
He's won on everything he's ridden, that goes beyond mere ride talent and speaks of a deeper understanding of the bike and technique.
I also expect the bike to be quite a bit different to Caseys. I don't expect it to romp a few races and be nowhere for the larger part of the season or worse in the gravel. I would expect when all things are sorted for it and rider to fight for wins week in week out. I doubt Rossi/Burgess have lost there touch. Duke could well become the dominant brand over the next few years as Yam did with time.

Here's hoping Rossi and all his competitors are firing on all cylinders come the first race, not sure about Rossi or Dani but fingers crossed.

I AM a 'fanboy' of Moto GP/WSBK! I'm also a 'fanboy' of Rossi, Stoner, Spies, Hayden, etc! What is amazing to me, is all the negative posts on Rossi, a 9-Time WC! What has he ever done to deserve such negative posts/feedback, besides beat everyone/won on everything he's ever ridden? I've posted before on shoulder surgerys . . . . I've had a shoulder injury & surgery and was talking to buddy of mine about his shoulder injury/surgery. We both ride (he's a retired CHP motor officer) and with his injury/surgery it was 6 months before he was back on a bike! My shoulder injury . . . it was about 6 weeks before I could handle a FORK at dinner!

OK, so I understand that they are many that are really hoping/wanting Rossi to fail! While I do not like Lorenzo, I am not hoping he'll fail . . . I'm hoping someone will beat him in a straight up fight! I''m a FAN BOY of good/harding racing!!!

I am also a fan of all concerned and the show in general over any one particular rider. The term 'fanboy' is used in a derogatory manner to imply a blinkered or one eyed view of any individual rider. There are plenty of them out there. A disproportionate (but by no means exclusive) number reside in the yellow camp.

You are so right. Racing is what everybody should be talking about, not scenarios that are fueled by brand loyalty, jealousy or gossip.

The reason we all love motoGP and WSBK is that they are highly intense forms of racing at the top level. Of course different riders have their own fan base so there will always be rivalries, rumors and gossip. Rivalries and racing go hand in hand and sometimes they get out of hand usually because of the fans (not always) not the racers. Rivalry is good for the sport and adds extra flavor to any sport.

To belittle any rider because someone happens to like another rider more is rather childish. I am a Rossi fan because I feel he has done more for the sport than anyone else in the history of the sport we love. He has also, as pointed out by 3B43, shown to be capable of winning on anything he rides. That should be enough to keep things in perspective, but no. Close racing is what we should be hoping for, not someone failing because he changed brands, has won to often or beat a personal favorite.

The competiveness of the racing should be the ultimate wish by all fans. As far as I am concerned all this anti Rossi talk is pure jealously and should be taken as such. It is too bad that there are so many who put their personal vendettas before aboslute racing talent, but I suppose that will never change.

PS: I too have suffered through a shoulder injury and it was absolutely horrendously painful for way too long, I could not believe it. It has been over 5 years and I still do special exercises every day to keep it in check.

... you will just about know for sure VR isn't joking about his shoulder: fact is it hasn't repaired fully YET. My wife points out its not guaranteed it will fully heal.

Nostrodamus: "He didn't look right." Correct, I agree.
With your shoulder aching (I'm guessing here) the weight of expectation must be ... well I would lose sleep, not to mention possible doubt. It could even cause stress.

Done more for the sport than anyone else?

Based on grid size he hasn't. Based on TV Audience size maybe, but he also coincided with a boom in media. Right man at just the right time.

Not to take anything away from the guy, just applying some reality.

For the shoulder injury I think.....It hurts and is still a bit weak. Why does it HAVE to be a game or a trick. It may just be a man telling you how his shoulder is........

Lorenzo and Stoner et al won't care about Rossi, fit or not. They'll just race the guy in front/next to/behind of them, whomever it is.

You make a good point - Rossi has been able to cultivate a marketable personality in a time when media is more accessible than it ever has been in the past.
He knows how to use the media and it has (mostly) worked to his advantage and to the advantage of the sport as a whole.
As for the 'fan boy' issue - this is also something that Rossi has cutivated through rivalries with Max & Sete and continues to persue with comments made about Jorge, Casey. To quote the man -
"At first, Lorenzo, like Stoner, said: “Ah, Valentino was my hero when I was little,” but that’s not true. It’s bullshit. I am just an obstacle, a target, as Biaggi was for me. When two people are fighting for the same objective, it’s normal to hate each other. Whoever denies it is lying. I’m not saying it’s a murderous hatred, but it is violent."
There have been situations like this in the past - Fogarty hated eveyone and everything, Doohan and Creville and of course Rainey and Schwantz. But there weren't massive online forums and news sites back then for fans to take sides and argue over comments and become 'fan boys'.
Rossi plays up to this a lot more than any other rider, it can be a good thing, I like his honesty the same as I appreciate Stoner's straight forward points of view. It can also attract a more negative type of support and rivalry - such as the people who turn up at charity events and boo other riders.

Rossi has won so much I think some people are just looking to see someone else on top. Shoulder injuries are more tricky than people think. I have had one and could not even raise my arm for 2 months. I had to sling it around to move it without using my other hand to move my arm. But, we are talking about Rossi. Even if he is playing mind games about the shoulder injury, all the "Aliens" have dealt with him in the past. And if anything, they are going to make SURE, they are focused on going faster. Definately not listening to a word he is saying about being not ready. Lorenzo and Stoner especially will not be hearing any of it as seeing he has messed with them so much, they are probably looking to take ANY advantage to beat him and beat him thoroughly.

Ducati, will be doing everything in their power to get the bike right for him. So hoping he will not be able to adapt will be for nothing. If Nicky Hayden can adapt and get back up to the speed he was on a Honda. And I am not knocking Nicky, but it has been proven over and over again, he is slower than Stoner, Rossi, Lorenzo, and Pedrosa. Then Rossi will be able to get back up to at least podium, more than likely a couple of wins. Even with a weak shoulder. I will not say Championship, (won't rule it out either). But Rossi has proven to have more tricks up his sleeve than anyone else racing. Just because he is slower, does not mean he will not win.

did remember the shoulder injury than pedrosa taked in at the last japanese circuit, when he raced the last race in valencia even with the shoulder damaged was able to overtake like 3 or 4 guys in the first lap, well, rossi's fitness is not the optimal now and because is rossi's maybe have prepared an special card hidden for us, just waiting for the proper moment for use it, like pedrosa their respective shoulder's are not in top level and that will take some time, also dont forgive than rossi's is the master of tricks and have the ability to resucitate motorcycles from dead, remember how was the m1 before now rossi's and now how are the m1 after rossi's, turn that motorcycle than was considered a piece of junk in a masterpiece of enginnering.

Ducati also has been stigmatized with a bad fame than kill the racing of most people than use them in respective of their career, this time rossi's will put his lucky energy on that bike, also the ducati is not bad after all, remember how stoner gave them a title with the GP7. this are cyclical, the moment for ducati will not come Immediately, will take some time, also rossi's is not the only one on ducati fac, hayden can do something in that matter.

For me there are far too many people looking for excuses for what Rossi has given the sport. If I watch tennis I love watching Federer, I cannot imagine people going around trying to make excuses for his success and what he has brought to the sport or any other sportsman. beggars belief in my book. But I will have to defend his frankly immeasurable contribution to the sport all season
I think Doohan was racing in an economic boom era??

Nostro my point was, most of the blogs I've read about Rossi's injury come from those who don't rate him(should I bother) saying basically that he made it up because he wasn't good enough(had already beat JLo to two champs but they don't count? but the last one does?)). I have seen only a couple suggesting that it may affect his first few races nothing more certainly not an excuse from Rossi fans. I doubt you will find a true fan who doesn't think he will be there or there abouts come the racing and only a fool would think otherwise. I suspect it is more fear from the those who don't get it. They finally think that for some reason this bike(despite all the others he's ridden will do for him and are terrified that his shoulder might actually be knackered and they will be robbed of ridiculing the greatest racer of our generation(bare minimum).

I'll go back to sleep now.

I don't think it is really useful to start discussing what people on other fora are saying.
Right here, I don't think I have ever seen anybody who doubts Rossi's skills, what he has done for the sport, etcetera. Some people just express their concern about his injury, or the move to Ducati.

Can we calm down the barbs and insults, no one wants this place turning into or

Keep it lively but respectful.

I'm now seeing it back to front: I hope the conspiracy theorists are 100% right, that VR is a big bluff and he's ready to race, meaning we'll get hot RACING !!

Anyone who thinks riders don't try and use mind games either has never raced motorcycles or doesn't see whats going on.

"Anyone who thinks riders don't try and use mind games either has never raced motorcycles or doesn't see whats going on."

Exactly. Of course, it takes two for a mind game to work.

When on track, good racers are thinking about the track. Maybe they're thinking about the riders they can see in front of them, but only as obstacles on the track. A club racer must always be aware of which particular obstacles might take the occasional inopportune line, but such ineptitude is largely absent in MotoGP. So, other riders are just part of the track, albethey moving parts.

I'd bet that, yes, when any MotoGP rider is on track behind Rossi the first few times this year, he'll wonder how the shoulder's doing. For maybe an instant. I seriously doubt that the good ones are going to put a whole lot of effort into making evaluations of anything except their bikes.

Now, the weeks, days, hours before a race, especially the first one, that's a different story. Who knows how anybody but himself goes about it. Machines would only review data, and then only data over which they have control. But racers are human beings. As such, racers run the gamut, from machine-like to hyper-emotional. And, the fact is, champions run that same gamut.

Might a MotoGP racer, even a champion, wonder what part Rossi might play in an upcoming race, what with his injured shoulder and all? Yes, he might. Will he go into a self-induced psychosis over it? Doubtful, but the extent to which he does end up thinking about it will probably vary from one rider to another.

In my opinion, taking part in mind games is a fools errand. So, too, is downplaying the part mind games end up playing.

Me, I'd be curious. I'd follow Rossi around for a while, see how he looks. One of the many reasons the only times I'll ever see him on a track are in photos.

If a man is fast, everyone knows it already. If he is not, all the bullcrap he may publish is laughed at.

No racer is, or will, laugh at Rossi. He is the real deal. I believe the man when he speaks. As I do all the racers. There is no soap opera going on here.

Will the racing ever get started - I can't stand this waiting any longer !!!!

I was telling a buddy who had an op under GA (general anaesthetic) about the Rossi fitness saga - he doesn't per se have an interest in MotoGP, but he's interested in my interest.

He rammed down my throat how much GA knocks you about: I believe VR's op was under GA.

Yes there is a soap opera going on here, but its only online !!!!