Valentino Rossi first words on Sunday's shoulder operation came not in the form of a press release or statement on his website, as many had expected, but playfully on a satirical Italian news program.Appearing  on "Striscia la Notizia" with good friend Marco Simoncelli and Captain Ventosa, the host of the show with the trademark suction cup on his head, Rossi, his right arm in a sling, spoke of the pain of the recovery and the road ahead.

"I'm not feeling great in the sense that I'm in a lot of pain, which the day after an operation is normal," he said. "I'm struggling to sleep, but the operation all went to plan and everything's okay. Right now I've got my arm in plaster, but my shoulder should return to 100%, so it's just a question of time. You have to have calm and wait."Ross said the shoulder "was a lot worse than we had been hoping it would be, unfortunately, which meant the operation took twice as long as it should have done. All the tendons and bits that we had thought were maybe only slightly damaged were completely broken, so they've given me a new shoulder now; I can't wait to try it out."He also discussed how the shoulder injury and the broken left leg, suffered in his home race in Mugello, affected his season."Aside from the problem I had with my leg, I had this shoulder injury too," he said. "I tried to stay strong all the way to the end of the season and I was even able to ride some good races, but it was hard and through slightly gritted teeth."Immediately after the two-hour surgery, Rossi's doctors issued a statement that the normal recovery time is 90 days. The first test of the new year, in Sepang, Malaysia on Feb. 1-3, begins on the 78th day of his recovery.Asked by Captain Ventosa for a closing comment, he said, "Thank you to everyone as ever for the fanatical support, and on 1 February, for the first test of 2011, I hope to be on top form with Ducati."

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By Cycle News Staff

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