Just days before the first MotoGP test of 2011, Valentino Rossi has taken part in a surprise test on a Ducati Superbike at Misano (pictured).
In a repeat of the kind of tests he conducted last year on a Yamaha R1, to gauge the level of his recovery from a broken leg, the Italian MotoGP superstar used the 1198 ride to evaluate his fitness after shoulder surgery in mid-November.
Next week's Sepang test, from February 1-3, will be the first time Rossi has ridden a MotoGP bike since the shoulder operation, and also mark his track debut in full Ducati Marlboro colours.
“First of all, thanks to Filippo (Preziosi) and to Ducati, who organised this test,” said Rossi. “Misano Circuit let us use the track on a day when Mattia (Pasini) was planning to ride in order to confirm his own condition.
"The track more or less confirmed what we expected: the shoulder is painful—especially under braking, when the front area hurts, where they stitched the tendon. Movement is stable enough, and we're also doing not so bad with endurance, but apart from that, it hurts a lot and isn't very strong.
"Let's hope it gets a little better in these next few days before the test in Malaysia. Once we're there, we'll work with the riding position in an effort to make the most of the situation and collect important information with the Desmosedici, even though I'm not in top form.
"Today I did a total of 25 laps on the 1198 Superbike, which is sort of a 'historic' motorcycle for Ducati: beautiful and fast. I liked it!”
No lap times were released by Ducati.