Marco Melandri has raised concerns about his fitness ahead of the second World Superbike Championship round at Motorland Aragon after admitting his recovery from surgery hasn't been as swift as first anticipated.
The Italian came into the season opener having been suffering with a shoulder complaint for several months, but after persevering with the ailment at Phillip Island curtain raiser, he went under the knife between events with a view to being fully fit for the upcoming European rounds.
However, despite admitting he wouldn't be quite 100 per cent fit in time for the Spanish round, which gets underway on April 12th, BMW GoldBet Motorrad rider Melandri had hoped to be in a stronger position with his fitness and training by this stage.
Explaining the injury on his personal blog, Melandri says he has suffered 'intense pain' during his recovery and he is concerned he is not 'completely OK' after surgery.
“In November all my tendons were swollen, but we weren't sure about the presence of a shoulder micro-instability,” he wrote. “It took a long time to cure it, after that we worked out to find more stability, and actually the situation seemed to be getting better.
“At the gym I worked out quite normally, sometimes I had some strange painful stitch, but we thought it was due to the fact that the muscle just restarted to execute some of the movements I was doing… But once I arrived in Australia, I completely panicked!
“Every time I changed direction from right to left and relaxed the muscle, I felt an acute pain, but unexpectedly when I stopped at the box everything was ok.
“During the surgery it became clear why MRI and scans showed nothing: I had a serious arthrosis, in fact the bone instead of being smooth and homogeneous like a ping pong ball, seemed more woolly like a tennis ball. There where little bone fragments everywhere and in some points the woolly part created some adhesions with the nearest tissues.
“Doctors cleaned deeply the part in question and they smoothed at least 1 cm of my bone. Fortunately, tendons and ligaments were perfect, and also the part where I had the surgery in 2003 was ok.
“Honestly, I thought it would have been a fast recovery, to be ready to work out after two weeks… but it is not like that. For the first three weeks I felt a very intense pain on the top of my bone, today [25 Mar] it's been 23 days since the surgery and I tried to force a little bit more during the gym activity, but I still keep on feeling that painful sensation between the tendons of the head of the humerus.
“I should get back on the bike to run tests soon, so this week I should be able to work out…
I'm a little bit concerned, because I thought I would have been completely OK after the surgery.”
Despite the pain from his injury, title favourite Melandri was still able to notch up a podium at Phillip Island.