Valentino Rossi may decide to miss the last two races of the 2010 MotoGP season in order to undergo early surgery on his shoulder.
The Italian has battled with the ligament damage ever since round two of the championship, having hurt his back in a motocross training accident shortly after winning round one of the season.
Rossi, who has since recovered from a broken leg, continues to be hampered by the injury and finished an off-pace sixth at Aragon on Sunday - his worst result of the year.
The Italian, who is leaving Yamaha for Ducati next season, will now use the forthcoming flyaway rounds in Japan, Malaysia and Australia to decide if he should see out the season or head for surgery early.
Rossi is fourth in the world championship and cannot be champion this year, although he retains a mathematical chance of second place.