PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA, OCT 14 - Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi doesn't know how his still damaged left shoulder will stand up to the rigors of Phillip Island.Having won last weekend's race in Sepang, one week after finishing third in Motegi, Rossi said the shoulder is sore after the consecutive races and may not be up to the challenge of Phillip Island, a track that he loves, but one which can be physically demanding."Will be very interesting to understand my potential, especially how much the shoulder give me problems," he said in a gathering with English language journalists after Thursday's pre-race press conference. "Also because I start to feel the shoulder a little bit tired. Some more pain after two races in a row, so make also the third is a big question mark for us, but we will try. So, I hope to go fast as Motegi and Sepang, where the shoulder was quite good."I'm not 100%, but anyway I can ride well also," he said. "But I don't know what I have to expect about the shoulder in Phillip Island. And, yeah, the weather will be another issue for sure. Maybe we will have some good chance to try rain tires this weekend." The forecast is for rain on Friday."Anyway, I hope dry and also if it will be dry, need to keep attention on this track, because is very cold and this year sometimes we need effort to get the tire to temperature so will be an issue, also."Rossi continued. "This track is great and it is very fast and is so important to make the right line. If the weather is like today it is great and one of the best because it is close to the ocean and good to look. We have to wait for the weather in the next day and always here is very difficult to find the right balance between fast and slow corners and between right and left with tires. It is a tricky track and you need to know some secrets but I've always had great races, especially in MotoGP."Now that teammate Jorge Lorenzo has won the world championship, and doesn't have to ride for position or points, he's free to race harder than he has for the past two races. Rossi has been in this same situation a number of times and had a few thoughts on how the rest of the season would play out."For me, is possible have two reactions," he said. "So, you have two different situation, because from one side you don't have any more pressure and, so you can be more relaxed. Also, if you make a mistake is not a problem. From the other side, with the less pressure, maybe is also...less pressure sometimes is good, sometimes is bad. Depends on how you react, depends from a lot of other things around. But in the past I always enjoy a lot my races after the championship, because is not a question of points, you don't have to do any calculation. Is just more a question of fight with all the other guys and that's fun."As to whether Yamaha would let him test the Ducati following the Valencia season finale, Rossi said he was still awaiting an answer.

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Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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