Valentino Rossi is apparently not speaking to the press during his rehabilitation, which should take several months. Yamaha, however, after providing yesterday’s interview with Valentino himself, has sent MD the following interview of Rossi’s surgeon, and race team management. Interesting stuff about the all-time great.
1. What caused the accident? Was it rider error or a bike/tyre issue?
Davide Brivio, Fiat Yamaha Team Manager: Valentino Rossi’s crew: “Valentino was on his first flying lap with new hard tyres. At ‘Arrabbiata 2′ Valentino slowed down to let another rider pass, because he was following him. When Valentino opened the throttle again at ‘Biondetti’, the first corner on the left, having ridden for about a quarter of the track at a very low speed, the rear tyre had cooled down and lost grip suddenly, causing the crash. When Valentino lost the rear of the bike his speed was approximately 180kph and when he hit the ground it was approximately 150kph.”
2. What were Valentino’s exact injuries?
Professor Roberto Buzzi, MD, Trauma Unit, Careggi Hospital, Florence, Italy: “Valentino suffered a ‘grade 2′ open fracture of the distal third right tibia, as well as a bifocal fracture of the fibula.”
3. What exactly was done in the operation?
Professor Roberto Buzzi: “Debridement and lavage, stabilisation with locked intramedullary nailing and a VAC (vacuum assisted closure) application on Saturday 5th June. Then a second look and delayed primary closure on Monday 7th June.”
4. What is the expected recovery time for VR?
Professor Roberto Buzzi: “Six months.”
5. At which race can we expect him back?
Davide Brivio: “It is very difficult to say now. We will have to see, step by step, how his recovery goes. Around 45 days after the accident we will have a clearer picture about his condition. In the meantime he will be busy with the rehabilitation. At the moment we think it’s unlikely that he will be back within the next two months. If everything goes well we might see him racing in August or September.”
6. Where will he be spending his recovery time? Will he be attending any races?
Davide Brivio: “Valentino left the CTO in Florence today and travelled to Cattolica to meet with doctors close to his home. He will probably spend his entire recovery at home. We want Valentino to concentrate fully on his recovery and rehabilitation, therefore we will not involve him in any activities until he is back to the best physical condition. He will not be attending any races until that time, so the next time we will see Valentino at a track it means that he is ready to race again.”
7. Will anything be done to his shoulder during this time?
Davide Brivio: “Yes, of course the next couple of months will be very useful for the shoulder recovery as well. His doctors will be attending to this as well. Due to the recent accident the shoulder rehabilitation program has had to be updated because he has had to change some exercises, but from tomorrow he will be starting to work on the shoulder as well.”
8. When will Yamaha field a replacement? Why not straight away?
Lin Jarvis, Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing: “Firstly let me say that I am very happy that Vale has left the hospital today to return to his home area. This is a good sign as it means that his recovery is proceeding well and now he will start the rehabilitation program that will return him to full fitness. Concerning the replacement rider – we have decided to field a replacement rider from the Catalunya Grand Prix on 4th July. We have chosen the Catalunya Grand Prix to respect our Team Participation obligations to the MotoGP championship and also to take time to select the most suitable rider and to make sure we’re organised and well prepared for this new situation.”
9. Who will the replacement be?
Lin Jarvis: “At this moment I am unable to tell you who the rider will be because we have not yet made a definitive decision. We expect to be able to inform you of our plan next week or at the latest at the Silverstone MotoGP event.”
10. Who are the staff members not coming to Silverstone and Assen?
Lin Jarvis: “The Fiat Yamaha Team members working closely with Valentino will not come to Silverstone or Assen, i.e. his Team Manager, his Crew Chief and his mechanics. They will return in Barcelona and they will support the stand-in rider. All other Team and Corporate staff members will attend the coming races as usual.”
11. How does this affect your sponsors? Are they okay about missing two races?
Lin Jarvis: “We have been receiving messages of solidarity and understanding from all of our sponsors, without exception. They, like Yamaha, are all looking forward to Valentino returning in perfect shape. Valentino’s garage will be set up in Silverstone and Assen and both his YZR-M1s will be there for the fans to see.”
12. Will Valentino be meeting the media during his recovery time?
William Favero, Communications Manager, Yamaha Motor Racing: “Valentino will not be giving any interviews to press or television during his recovery time. All Yamaha wants is for him to focus on his rehabilitation and make a full recovery. Yamaha will arrange a press conference with Valentino in due course. In the meantime we will make sure that our sponsors, the fans and the international media are kept updated about his condition through our official spokesmen and team press releases, with the same efficiency and transparency with which we have treated this issue so far.”