It’s obvious that the 2010 MotoGP season didn’t provide Valentino Rossi with the usual positive results fit for a nine-time champion.
And now, with five of 18 races remaining, the 31-year-old Italian is pondering at pulling out of the last two races to undergo surgery on his right shoulder, the one he injured during a motocross training wreck before Round 2 in Jerez.
It’s also obvious that the majority of MotoGP fans don’t want to see Rossi sidelined, many considering his decision to opt out of the last two races a smart choice due to the amount of work Rossi has in store to be successful with Ducati next season.
Even former 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner gave his thoughts to the situation in his weekly review on his website, waynegardnerapproved.com.au.
Wayne Gardner says: “There is absolutely nothing to be gained by postponing the inevitable. He’s not fighting for the championship, and will not win another race this year in his current condition. There’s zero benefit from riding in pain for the rest of the year, battling for positions he would normally e able to achieve with one hand tied behind his back.”
“He needs to get the work done now. Vale knows it will take two months to get this type of surgery. Only then will he be able to begin training and preparing properly for 2011.”
Many would agree with Gardner…Rossi’s season was not so positive that it would be worth fighting for.
He had one win, taking the season-opener night race in Qatar, and it looked as if 2010 would be another Rossi-centric year of MotoGP. Then there was the motocross training accident in April before Jerez, although in obvious pain he raced to third in Jerez, then second in Le Manz.
Round four at Mugello in Rossi’s native country was the first race Rossi didn’t start after 230 consecutive starts across all classes. This is due to his horrific qualifying crash, one that sent VR 46 away on a stretcher with a broken leg.
Rossi would then miss Silverstone, Assen and Catalunya. But Rossi came back surprisingly early at Round 8 in Sachsenring, and again, under pain, he managed sixth. He’s next few results were sporadic for the world’s best motorcycle racers: third at Laguna Seca, fifth in Brno, fourth in Indy, third in Misano and sixth at the inaugural Aragon GP.
At Aragon, Rossi was very open about his shoulder pain, and began discussing the possibility of missing some of 2010 to get better for next year. In the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Rossi explains his situation on this season.
Valentino Rossi says: “We’re suffering too much. We’re struggling more than expected, we’ll think about it (the operation). I’d like to be there, I’d like to ride in all the races and would not skip them other than for the operation. I’d like to go all the way, but on tracks like in Motegi and Sepang I could even suffer a bit more than now. They are all assessments to be done calmly and with a cool head, but not now.”
Rossi also stated he could have underwent shoulder surgery while recovering from his leg surgery.
Valentino Rossi says: “I could have also had the shoulder operation while in bed for the leg, but imagine the frame of mind of someone who’s just been operated on: had it been suggested that I return to the operating room I would have said no.”
Then he offered his thoughts on Yamaha’s performance in the last few races.
Valentino Rossi says: “Yamaha must roll up their sleeves, the gap opened up by Honda and Ducati in recent races is getting a bit disturbing.”
These words on Yamaha don’t seem to carry that normal, positive Rossi attitude, maybe showing that his physical condition is starting to overcome not only positive results, but positive thinking on racing.
So now it’s just a waiting game for many MotoGP fans. Will Rossi abandon the 2010 season, undergo surgery and be healthy for next season when he makes his debut on Ducati to make an all-Italian team?
Or will he suffer through the remaining five races, and achieve mediocre results just to please a race-hungry psyche and MotoGP organizers?
Regardless of the outcome, fans will most likely be pleased with Rossi’s decision, which goes to prove why he has the nickname GOAT, Greatest of All Time.