In his first official interview since leaving hospital following an operation to the broken leg he sustained during practice for last weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, record-breaking multiple MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi has revealed that once he returns to competition, he hopes and intends to 'race for many more years' in the premier class.
Speculation has been building of late that once he is well enough to come back, Rossi might elect to call time on his extraordinary career on two wheels and switch to four, either by indulging his second love of rallying on a full-time basis or – in a move that would no doubt delight many fans of both MotoGP and F1 – turn his occasional 'just-for-fun' testing outings for Ferrari into something altogether rather more serious and join the grand prix grid.
The Italian, however, has hinted that far from hanging up his motorcycling record, he is in no frame of mind to call it a day just yet. There are, after all, even more records to be set.
“Sincerely, I haven't felt any fear,” the 31-year-old underlined, when asked if he had considered over the past week quitting the sport. “I was a bit horrified when I saw the leg, yes...but the thing I dislike the most is to miss so many races! I will take all the time I need and be sure not to do anything stupid because I want to return quickly, but only if my condition allows it. I know I have a bike for next year and I don't need to rush my return to demonstrate anything.
“I could miss just four races, but I still wouldn't come back to win the championship. It's better to be careful, finish the rehabilitation in the best way and come back to race for many more years. I've heard of many other sportsmen – a lot in fact – who have had the same problem as me. One example for everyone – Mark Webber called me, and he has had an exposed fracture of the right leg. He told me to be very patient and that I would have some moments of discomfort, but that in the end recovery is guaranteed.
“Now I have a lot of time at home to rest, to recover and to think. Firstly, I want to use this time to improve some things. I want to improve my English, learn something new, read a lot. Basically, I want to improve and learn. This I will do for sure. This incident will not influence my choices for next year in any way. Last Saturday hasn't changed anything – I just have one broken leg extra! The result of 2010 has never been relevant to my decisions for the future.”