MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi spoke publically for the first time since his leg-breaking accident, when he addressed his home Mugello fans from hospital just before the start of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.

Rossi fractured his tibia during a Saturday morning practice crash, and underwent surgery in Florence later that day.

The 31-year-old was well enough to request a TV to watch the race, and spoke via telephone to journalist Guido Meda, with his words broadcast live over the circuit PA system.

"I want to thank everyone at Mugello and also all the riders who have wished me well: it's always a great feeling," said Rossi, his words translated into English by the official MotoGP website.

"The operation went well, Doctor Buzzi has been exceptional and they are treating me like I'm part of the family here.

"I have had a pin inserted into my leg and tomorrow they will close and stitch the wound, then we will wait and begin a good rehabilitation programme."

The accident, a fast highside on entry to turn 13, appears to have been caused by a cold tyre - and left Rossi writhing in pain.

"They were difficult moments because it was a bad crash and a bad injury," said Rossi. "I've watched the accident again and to see how my ankle looked was not a good feeling. There were a few moments of fear, but now I'm doing well.

"Now I can say my morale is reasonably high because I've discovered I have a great rapport with morphine!" he joked, adding "I hope nobody wins!" when asked about the race.

Rossi is expected to be sidelined for months due to the injury, and he confirmed he won't rush his recovery: "It will take some time, but the important thing is that I'll return at 100%."

Meanwhile, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has offered to assist Rossi's recovery with some four-wheel training, telling the Ferrari website:

"Everyone at Ferrari is with you at this difficult time. We are sure that you will be back on track soon, even stronger than before.

"If during your convalescence you feel you would like to do some training on four wheels, then remember that the door to Maranello is always open to you."

Those words are unlikely to dampen speculation about Rossi and a third Ferrari F1 car.


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