ASSEN: ROSSI IN DOUBT FOR RACE DAY

The effects of Valentino Rossi’s Thursday morning high-side may have taken a day to fully catch up with the Italian, but they have now put his attendance in Saturday’s race in serious doubt.

Rossi fractured his hand and ankle in the Thursday free practice fall, but was able to return to action in the afternoon session. However, his injuries then deteriorated overnight and the seven-times world champion completed only four laps in morning free practice, then quit qualifying ten minutes earlier – leaving him 18th and last on the grid.

“This afternoon I tried using some painkillers but the fracture in my right wrist hurts a lot,” sighed Rossi. “Truly it was very difficult to ride – the hand is very swollen and I don’t have much strength. Together with Marco Montanari and Doctor Claudio Costa we have done the best that was possible, I’ve had a lot of treatment and I was able to ride for a few laps, but the strong pain stopped me from finishing the qualifying session.

“Tomorrow we will see how I am and, depending on what happens in the warm-up, we will decide whether I will ride or not,” he declared. “Anyway it’s going to be very difficult. We tried to move the brake lever a little bit down and we’re now looking at the possibility of making a bigger brake lever to see if this is better for me.”

 

The timing of Rossi’s injury is a cruel blow for the Italian and his Camel Yamaha team – since it has almost certainly halted his two race win streak and handed the championship initiative back to Nicky Hayden; Rossi had closed from 43 to 29 points behind the American with his recent run of form, while the cramped 2006 calendar still contains three races in a row after this weekend.
“Valentino had to be very strong just to complete a few laps this afternoon and now it is just a case of letting him rest and seeing how his condition develops overnight,” confirmed team director Davide Brivio. “Obviously we want him to race but our first concern is his physical condition. Thankfully the Clinica Mobile is doing a fantastic job, as always, and we know he is in good hands.”

Rossi’s team-mate Colin Edwards qualified third for Saturday’s race, with fellow American Hayden fourth on the grid.

 

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