Valentino Rossi made his return to action on Wednesday when he tested a Ducati 1198 Superbike at the Misano circuit in Italy.
Some 73 days after an operation to his right shoulder, the Italian was back in action to complete his first test to check the status of his injury. The test was not as positive as expected, however, and Rossi was in quite some pain just a few days before the first official test of the MotoGP season at Sepang.
"The track more or less confirmed what we expected: the shoulder is painful – especially under braking, when the front area hurts, where they stitched the tendon," said Rossi. "Movement is stable enough, and we're also doing not so bad with endurance, but apart from that, it hurts a lot and isn't very strong.
"Let's hope it gets a little better in these next few days before the test in Malaysia. Once we're there, we'll work with the riding position in an effort to make the most of the situation and collect important information with the Desmosedici, even though I'm not in top form."
Team manager Vittoriano Guareschi admitted the whole team was expecting Rossi to be in better shape, and claimed the Italian will be far from his best when the season kicks off.
"We had all expected him to go better, especially he expected that," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Valentino will arrive in Malaysia with only 50 percent of his strength. Each time he begins to turn right, the pain makes his arm fail.
"In the first test, he will be able to do just a few laps, but it would be great if on the third day he could do two or three runs of consecutive laps, in order to at least understand if we have taken the right path with the modifications done after the Valencia test. Meanwhile, we have seen that, by modifying the riding position on the saddle and by moving the handlebars a bit, the strain on the shoulder gets a bit better."
The Sepang test kicks off on Feb. 1.