Valentino Rossi will miss his home MotoGP race in Mugello Sunday due to a compound shin fracture the nine-time world champion sustained during a nasty highside crash in the second free practice session Saturday.
This will be the first time in the 31-year-old Italian's career that he will miss the Italian Grand Prix, and the amount of recovery time needed has yet to be determined, though the injury may take up to three months to heal.
Rossi, who posted the fastest time during the first free practice session on Friday, was thrown off his Fiat Yamaha M1 at turn 13, the first chicane at the 3.259-mile Florentine circuit, about 15 minutes before the end of his session. He proceeded to get up after the crash, but appeared in severe pain before being hauled away on a stretcher.
Rossi was taken to the Clinica Mobile at the track, where initial X-rays confirmed he suffered a displaced and exposed fracture to third medium of his right shinbone (tibia).
Doctor Macchiagodena of the Clinica Mobile says "It's an injury more serious than we thought, because it's an exposed fracture with the bone protruding from the skin. We have reduced the fracture, which fortunately has not affected any blood vessels or nerves. It is serious, it could be a couple of months, but it is too early to say just yet. He remained calm, but having seen the images he could already see it was a nasty fall."
After his initial examination, Rossi was flown by helicopter to the Careggi Hospital in Florence for additional examination, and may have also broken his fibula, though nothing is officially yet. Rossi will be operated on today.
This is one of two major downfalls this season for Rossi, who was hoping for a 10th-career victory at his home track on Sunday, and possibly the 50th pole position of his career. Rossi has been in physical discomfort during the last two rounds due to injuring his shoulder in a motocross-training accident six weeks ago, a factor that may have altered his usual domination.
Coming into Mugello, "The Doctor" was nine points behind the series leader, teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who was fastest at Saturday's free practice session in which Rossi went down.
With the amount of time needed for a full recovery for such an injury, Rossi's tenth world title is unlikely.
And if that's not enough bad news about Italy's famed rider, Rossi's pop-star like status created for some tension at Round 4 - a 42-year-old man threatened to kill Rossi at Mugello.
According to reports, the unidentified man of Casale Monferrato was charged Thursday by police in Pesaro, Italy.
Police say the man was completely obsessed with his own hatred for the 31-year-old Rossi, and made numerous against Rossi, his family and friends.
The suspect also reportedly called various forms of the media, and one e-mail said he would "put a bullet in Rossi's head at Mugello."
Police found "irrefutable evidence" at the man's home, which prompted a confession.
The Doctor's Updates Here at UltimateMotorCyling.com
Stop back here for more updates and we wish Vale a very speedy recovery.