Alcañiz (Spain) (AFP) – Valentino Rossi couldn’t hide his pride at battling to a fifth-place finish at Sunday’s Aragon Grand Prix just three weeks after suffering a double leg fracture.
The nine-time world champion’s participation in Spain this weekend had been in doubt until Thursday.
Yet, Rossi defied the pain to qualify an incredible third on the grid and held on manfully in the final 10 laps.
“I’m quite proud because a week ago I didn’t know if I would be able to race,” said Rossi.
“Achieving a start from the first row yesterday was already great, I was very happy. I knew I had to suffer in the second half of the race.
“I had some pain and we also suffered from the degradation of the tyre.”
Victory for Marc Marquez means Rossi now trails the Spaniard by 56 points in the championship standings.
However, he hopes to be close to 100 percent fitness for the start of three races in a frantic three weeks starting at the Japanese Grand Prix on October 15.
“The calendar works out well for me, I have two full weeks to train and improve my leg’s condition,” added Rossi.
“After this we have Motegi, which is going to be very important, but we also have three races in a row.
“This will be very difficult for my leg, so I want to try to arrive in Motegi – maybe not at 100 percent – but quite fit.”