ROME (Reuters) - Italian MotoGP great Valentino Rossi has vowed to make a quick return to the track after surgery on Friday for a broken leg sustained in an off-road bike accident that effectively ended this year’s title chances.
“The surgery went well. This morning, when I woke up, I felt already good,” the 38-year-old said in a Yamaha statement after the operation in the eastern Italian coastal city of Ancona.
“I’m very sorry for the incident. Now I want to be back on my bike as soon as possible. I will do my best to make it happen.”
Yamaha said Rossi was operated on in the early hours after being transferred from hospital in Urbino, where he had initial X-rays.
“Valentino is doing well,” Raffaelle Pascarella, director of the Ancona hospital orthopedics and trauma department, told a news conference.
Pascarella said the operation lasted about an hour and involved inserting a pin into the injured limb. Rossi will stay in hospital for another three or four days, but should rest for around 40 days.
Exactly how long Rossi will wait before getting back on his bike “depends a lot on him”, Pascarella said, adding: “I was struck by how calm he was.”
The accident, while he was riding an off-road enduro bike, and likely recovery time realistically ends Rossi’s title chances for another year.
There are six races remaining and the Italian seems sure to miss at least two of them.
The next race is at Misano on Italy’s Adriatic coast, near Rossi’s home, on Sept. 10 and that is followed by Aragon in Spain on Sept. 24.
The rider is currently fourth in the overall MotoGP standings and 26 points behind leading compatriot Andrea Dovizioso. A race win is worth 25 points.
Rossi also broke his right leg in practice for the Italian Grand Prix in 2010. The rider returned to MotoGP after an absence of six weeks that time.
Writing by Alan Baldwin in Monza, additional reporting by Isla Binnie in Rome; Editing by Alison Williams