Just 22 days after breaking his right leg, Valentino Rossi got back on a MotoGP bike during Friday practice at Aragon.

As if the obvious danger wasn't enough, light rain before the start of each session made for a damp track and wet tyres.

The stakes were high, but the Movistar Yamaha rider avoided any incidents, completing 8 laps on his way to 18th in the morning (+2.8s) and a further 13 laps for 20th place (+2.1s) in the afternoon.

"I'm quite happy, because I feel comfortable on the bike. I was good already from this morning and also because the leg, after two practice sessions, is in a good condition, I don't feel a lot of pain," said Rossi, whose recovery was expected to require 30-40 days.

"On the wet, for sure, physically it's a lot more easy, so it can help me to start the weekend. But on the other side, it's more dangerous, it's easier to make a small mistake and make a crash. So I have always to ride with some margin. From some points of view, it's better [in the wet], but from other points of view it's a bit worse, because you have to always keep paying attention.

"We hope for a dry Saturday and Sunday, and maybe from tomorrow we can work also on the bike and try to understand our level.

"If it's wet, I don't have a particular problem [to do the race distance]. For sure in the dry, it's a lot more demanding, for the leg and also for all the rest. Because what I found in Misano [during the Superbike test] is I have a bit more effort on the arms, on the shoulder, because in braking, I don't have the power in the leg to brake the bike, so it's a bit more demanding.

"The other thing is that in the dry, you have to move on the bike more from one side to the other, and also when you are full lean, you are a bit more outside the bike. And this I don't understand very well with the R1, because the R1 is quite a normal bike, like with the M1 in the wet. But with the M1 in the dry, you have to stay more outside the bike. So with this condition, no problem, but we have to wait for until tomorrow to wait for a dry condition.

"Today we tried the footpegs lower to have more space, but if tomorrow I am able, I want to try a normal setting."

Rossi revealed he elected against using a special carbon fibre cast to try and spread the load on his injured leg.

"I already have the protection of the boot and the protection of the leathers. So it's already double protection, so I don't think it would change a lot. To create something with carbon that spreads the load on the footpeg is difficult. We tried, but in the end, we went with nothing.

"I have some pain in the knee, the ankle and where it is broken. So we tried to fix it all with some protection inside [the boot] and that worked not so bad."

While Rossi's physical condition was a pleasant surprise, the M1's lack of grip in the conditions was an unexpected setback, team-mate and title contender Maverick Vinales finishing the day just 17th quickest (1.8s).

"It has been a challenging start to the weekend for us," said team director Massimo Meregalli. "We suffered a lot due to a lack of grip.

"After Misano, we were not expecting to face this setback. Both Maverick and Valentino didn‘t get a good feeling on the bike and were experiencing a lot of spin, which caused a loss in power and prevented them from riding the way they wanted to."

Meregalli also agreed that Rossi is likely to have a tougher time when the stress on his leg increases in the dry.

"We didn't know what to expect from Vale on this first day of riding, but the wet conditions gave him a smooth transition coming back from injury. Today‘s goal was for him to get familiarised with the bike again. However, we are expecting dry conditions tomorrow and only then will we truly know where he stands."

And will Rossi change his training habits having now suffered two different injuries on dirt bikes this season?

"In the last years, we train a lot with the dirt bike together with the young riders. We do some different things. For me, it's very important, but it's also dangerous. This year I have two problems during training, so I think for the future, we will try to understand to make something else. But we are still not decided."


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