Valentino Rossi says he was encouraged by how well his shoulder stood up to skiing and ice racing during the "Wrooom" media ski camp in Italy last week, and is now more optimistic about his fitness heading into winter testing.
The former MotoGP champion had surgery on his lingering shoulder injury last November, but it was discovered during the operation that the damage was more serious than had first been thought. With his recovery still in progress, Rossi was concerned that he would be below par for both pre-season testing – which commences at Sepang at the start of February – and the opening rounds of the championship. However, having coped with the activities of Ducati and Ferrari's joint media event, Rossi is feeling more upbeat about his shoulder's condition.
"Skiing helped me," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I felt the need for it after spending the winter without doing anything."
Rossi said he had planned to only briefly participate in the kart and Fiat 500 races on a frozen lake that concluded Wrooom on Friday, but instead he contested both in full, and finished second behind Fernando Alonso in the Fiat 500 contest.
"At one point the vertebrae told me, 'You can't do that. I'll just do two race laps and that's it,'" said Rossi. "In the car it was easier compared to the kart. The shoulder hurt a bit just on the bumps. I feel pain if I try to raise my arm, not when I drive or ride the snowboard."
The Italian now wants to make the most of the next fortnight to improve his fitness for the three-day Sepang test.
"In the next two weeks I will work full-time to try to be in good form at Sepang," Rossi said. "Strength isn't much of a problem: what needs to improve is the arm movement, especially when I need to raise it and when I need to crouch on the bike.
"I count on what the doctors have said, that the more time goes by, the quicker is the recovery. We are on schedule, in fact a bit ahead than predicted. Let's hope it's enough."