Valentino Rossi believes his shoulder injury will hamper him less at Mugello than it did at Le Mans, but that the problem will continue to be an issue at least until the middle of the season.
The world champion recently discovered that the shoulder he hurt in a motocross crash in April was much more seriously damaged than he had expected. He shrugged this off to go fastest in Friday practice for his home race today.
"It's definitely a bit better compared to Le Mans, especially in changing direction," said Rossi. "Staying behind the cowling on the straight at Le Mans and Jerez was a big problem, but here it's improved. But I have pain when I have to stop the bike. But the topography of the track helped me more than Le Mans, because it's more flowing, less hard braking.
"It's an especially big improvement with the setup, because we worked hard to gain some rear grip and better agility. I tried four quite different setups during practice and I'm happy with the last one. I was fast. And this is the bigger improvement. I'm also consistent."
He admitted that he had grown more frustrated because the injury was not healing as fast as he had initially expected.
"We made a mistake because we underestimated the problem," said Rossi. "So I'm upset, but I don't think if I'd known before it would've been possible to make it better.
"It's just better for the mind, because if you know that you have a problem for two or three months, you get angry, but you get ready for this situation. When you wait week by week because you think you will come back to 100 percent within one month, you become more angry every day, and also upset and scared.
"Now the situation is clear. We know we are in the s*** for a period. But we know this. So I prefer this.
"In four months, we'll understand the real situation of my shoulder. Up to that moment, you can't decide if you can do surgery at the end of the season, but we'll try with all our effort not to need the surgery, because it's another three months and it's a big problem.
"I think we have to suffer until the [midseason] stop, and hopefully it will be better in the second part."