The return of Valentino Rossi is also questionable for Aragón. Nozane, Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and van der Mark are the possible replacement drivers. On Saturday morning, Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing, answered a few questions about Valentino Rossi’s injury. The Yamaha star suffered a fracture of the shin and fibula in an enduro accident on August 31st. Rossi is missing in Misano, which is the end of his title hopes, so to speak. He is already 26 points behind leader Dovizioso. And Rossi must expect a recovery period of 30 to 40 days.
There are four riders who can replace Rossi in Aragón if he is absent. Test driver Kouta Nozane is considered unlikely. Nakasuga should also be out of the race because he is needed in the All Japan Superbike Championship. Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark are considered for this, as they also have the necessary track knowledge as Superbike World Championship drivers from Yamaha.
Michael van der Mark
Apparently, Michael van der Mark has the best chances. Because Alex Lowes did not convince Tech3-Yamaha last year as Smith replacement. The decision is due to be made next week. Until the Motegi-GP, Rossi would have had 42 days – calculated from the day of the accident.
Lin, how can we compare Valentino’s injury to that of 2010?
“Much less bad, but nevertheless just as annoying.”
Because of the timing?
“It’s annoying because it means that the chances of a World Championship are over. The injury may be less serious, but the consequences are serious. It’s also annoying because Valentino was so strong in England. He was in good shape, his race at Silverstone was really impressive. We have tested in Misano, he has a lot of expectations from the home race in Misano. In terms of timing, we have the worst scenario imaginable. It’s a real pity.”
What is your opinion about motocross and enduro training?
“It’s hard for me to criticize him for this fall, for personal reasons. (Jarvis injured himself with an enduro Yamaha in 2016). But seriously: I have always said that motorcyclists cannot be packed in cotton or cotton wool. Because it’s in the nature of a motorcycle that it throws you off every now and then. That’s just the way it is.”
“So what do you want to do? A MotoGP machine is limited for testing purposes. You can’t drive on really real GP tracks. Therefore, alternative training methods must be sought. And most drivers opt for off-road training. I think it’s something else when they drive on the ranch instead of enduro in the wild. Driving on a circuit is more predictable. With the Enduro, you always have to expect unexpected events. The element of surprise is one of them. When riding an enduro, you have to cover long distances and only drive once a day. You never know what to expect after the next turn.”
“That’s why I don’t think Enduro is the ideal training for MotoGP preparation. But you have to consider. They test in Misano, they ride mini bikes, they train at the ranch, in many different disciplines, they do motocross, that’s how it is. I would rather Vale hadn’t trained enduro on the penultimate Thursday, but he has done it several times this year. And often in the past. So what am I supposed to say?”
Is Rossi going to try to get back to Aragón in two weeks?
“There’s no plan at the moment. We’re thinking about who might replace Vale. Our contract with Dorna says we have to replace the driver within ten days of the injury. That’s a reasonable prescription. Because the show must go on. So we will nominate a replacement driver for Aragón.”
Is Valentino gonna show up?
“I would say. He will only go there if he is convinced that he can drive the practice and race there. Just driving around doesn’t help. That’s not interesting.
If he can’t fight for the top five or top six, he’ll miss Aragón, I guess. Will he be able to race there? We’ll see about that. The doctors say he needs a longer recovery time than the three weeks to Aragón. But athletes are extreme. We experienced extreme cases with Jorge Lorenzo in our team. Therefore, never say never.”
“Valentino’s situation is somewhat different, however. He has the experience. He will be able to estimate how he feels and when he can return. Of course, we have to take a test before he can participate in Aragón. He will probably attempt this test with an R1 superbike. Is that gonna happen? I don’t know. It depends on how good he’s gonna feel. It depends on the pain. From physiotherapy. Of everything.”
Who could replace Rossi in Aragón?
“I’ve got a good idea. But I can’t reveal them today. We have four candidates.”