Valentino Rossi is feeling more confident about his fitness for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix after managing 25 laps without too much difficulty in free practice at Jerez today.
The Italian had sustained minor shoulder injuries in a motocross fall two weeks ago, and was concerned that he might only find out how bad the injury was when he first tried to ride his MotoGP Yamaha at speed. But he was pleased with how he fared in practice today, especially as he took no painkillers on the way to fifth in the order.
"The shoulder is a bit sore, especially in the two or three harder braking areas, but the most important thing is that I can ride," said Rossi. "Of course, this pain makes it more difficult but I was able to do 25 laps today without painkillers, and the pain didn't get any worse as the session went on. I didn't take any pain killers because I wanted to understand the level and so tomorrow and Sunday we will consider something for the pain."
Rossi added that his thoughts had already moved on from his physical condition to his bike's handling.
"We need to find a bit more rear grip in order to be more competitive, because at this moment this is slowing us down more than the shoulder," he said.
His teammate Jorge Lorenzo had fitness worries in the Qatar season-opener having broken his hand in a motocross accident of his own during the winter, but said it had felt much better today.
"Everything has gone well and I don't have any pain in my hand anymore," said Lorenzo after taking second behind Casey Stoner. "I feel as good on the bike as I felt last year when I got pole, although my aim is to make sure I don't repeat the same mistake in the race this time!
"I always feel like I ride well here and I've already got a good pace; with some small modifications we can be even better. I don't think the perfect MotoGP bike exists but our Yamaha is definitely nearly there, maybe we just need a bit more top speed."