ALCAÑIZ, Spain: Motorcycling legend Valentino Rossi completed two practice sessions on Friday (Saturday in Manila) for the Aragon Grand Prix, a mere 21 days after surgery on a double leg fracture and claimed he felt comfortable being back in business.
The 38-year-old Italian was back on his Yamaha in half the forecast time normally needed to recover from such an operation.
The nine-time world champion, given the all-clear to take part after passing a mandatory medical examination at the MotorLand Aragon circuit, took it easy in the opening session staged in damp conditions.
He completed seven laps to test his fitness, returning for the second session in which he managed another 13 laps as he bids to line up in Sunday’s race.
“I’m quite happy, because I feel comfortable on the bike,” Rossi said.
“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.”
Honda rival Dani Pedrosa topped the combined timesheets, the 2012 winner in Aragon posting a fastest lap of 1min 59.858sec, the only rider to duck under the two-minute mark.
The Spaniard commented: “I’m happy with this day, even if it was obviously a bit strange.
“Both times when we were preparing to go on track, it started to rain and we had to change setup and tyres.”
Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo was second on the day at 0.214sec with Yamaha Tech’s Johann Zarco and Pedrosa’s teammate and fellow Spaniard Marc Marquez next best.
Marquez said: “Apparently it should be dry tomorrow and Sunday, so we’ll keep pushing and see where we are in dry conditions.”
Rossi, who had completed 20 training laps in Misano on Tuesday, came in 20th, more than two seconds back.
Rossi underwent surgery on September 1, a day after a crash in training, discharging himself from hospital the following day.
He is returning to action after missing the San Marino Grand Prix because of the leg break, but remains fourth in the world championship standings, 42 points behind world champion Marquez of Spain and Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso with five rounds to go.