Valentino Rossi says he was left with “pain everywhere” following a dramatic early crash during Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi. The Yamaha rider was an early retirement in tricky conditions as he suffered a major highside at Turn 7 on the sixth lap while running in ninth place.
Rossi had already crashed in Saturday’s FP4 session, compromising his qualifying, and said then he had been lucky to avoid aggravating his right leg, which he broke last month.
The Italian said his race crash was worse, and that while he again was fortunate to avoid damaging his leg, he was left feeling pain all throughout his body.
“It was a big crash this time,” recalled Rossi of the accident.
“I was behind (Aleix) Espargaro and tried to not give up, because I could keep his pace. But I had zero grip, I was like on ice.
“It was very fast. When I realised, I was already flying. Very lucky that the leg is ok. I have pain everywhere, but not a lot.
“We struggled a lot all weekend, it was very difficult because we never had good grip, especially on the rear.
“We need to try to understand why.”
Rossi’s early exit from the race gave him the chance to observe a pulsating fight for victory between title protagonists Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso.
The Yamaha rider said he thinks the battle between the pair could go down to the final race in Valencia, as Dovizioso cut the gap in the standings to 11 points with victory.
“It was a great battle, very good for the sport that the two opponents are the strongest now and they can fight very hard,” said Rossi.
“It was a great race. It’s a great victory for Dovizioso and maybe the [championship] fight can arrive in Valencia.”
The championship continues with a visit to Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix this weekend.