Reigning seven time MotoGP world champion, Valentino Rossi, has emerged from surgery on his right tibia, which he fractured in this morning's free practice session at Mugello.
Rossi was flung from his Fiat Yamaha at highspeed on entry to Turn 13 and was clearly in considerable pain as he lay in the gravel trap. Initially taken to the circuit medical centre, Rossi was then transferred by helicopter to hospital in Florence where he underwent immediate surgery.
Rossi was operated on by Dr. Roberto Buzzi and assisted by Dr. Claudio Costa of the Clinica Mobile. Dr. Buzzi made the following statement following the 2.5 hour operation:
"We received Valentino Rossi at the Careggi Hospital, where we made detailed checks in order to rule out any other injuries, and the results were satisfactory. We therefore decided to proceed with the surgery for the exposed fracture of the right leg. We performed a spinal block (epidural) and cleaned and washed the fracture, which was then aligned and stabilised with a pin.
“The surgery had good results; the alignment was good and the bone is now stable. The wound remains open, as is usual in these cases, and it will be stitched in the next few days with another short surgery. We are confident that Valentino will be able to leave the hospital in a week to ten days, able to put weight on the leg with the aid of crutches.
"It is difficult to say how long the post surgery rehabilitation will take, we need to evaluate the progress of the patient and also what the x-rays will show. But I think that we can reasonably think of six weeks partial weight-bearing with crutches, after which Valentino needs to be re-evaluated, according to his feedback and further x-rays."
Six weeks on crutches surely rules Rossi out of the next six rounds, up to and including Laguna Seca on July 20, after which the summer break begins.
"It was a very sad day today for Yamaha and the Fiat Yamaha Team, seeing Vale in so much pain and seriously injured for the first time in his career,” said Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing.
“It is especially tough for Vale to have this accident at his home Grand Prix and this w ill surely be a huge disappointment for him and for all his fans here at the Mugello circuit and around the world.
“As a team we are very deflated right now because we had our two riders challenging for the championship lead and now that challenge is over - at least for the immediate future. We wish Vale the very best for a speedy recovery and hope to have him back with us as soon as possible."
Rossi is presently second in the 2010 MotoGP World Championship, nine points behind team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who will start Sunday's race from second on the grid. Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa starts on pole with Ducati's Casey Stoner third.
Rossi's injury brings an end to 230 consecutive grand prix appearances since his 125cc debut in 1996.