Valentino Rossi says he has almost fully recovered from the broken leg that forced him on the MotoGP sidelines earlier this season, but concedes he is now more concerned about the condition of his shoulder.
The FIAT Yamaha rider finished sixth at Motorland Aragon, explaining after the race that he was suffering with problems from a persistent shoulder injury that has dogged him for much of the year.
Indeed, having already hinted at curtailing his season in order to get surgery on the injury, Rossi admits it will continue to hamper him at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
"Aragon was a hard weekend, both because we couldn't find the right setting for our M1 and because I had a lot of trouble with my shoulder. The leg is now almost back to normal again - I have even started running - but the shoulder is a problem and we know now that this is not going to change until we have time to treat it properly.
“I have some great memories from Motegi, especially winning the championship in 2008, but I am expecting this weekend to be quite difficult on my body. We have a hard three weeks ahead but after this race two of my best tracks are coming up, and I am hoping for some good results. We will do our best and see what happens!"
Rossi is currently fourth in the standings, one point ahead of Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso, while Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden are also just nine and 15 points adrift respectively.