Rossi in action on the flat track at Rossi's Ranch, near his home at Tavullia. File photo: VR46

Ancona, Italy - Valentino Rossi has vowed to make a quick return to the track after surgery on Friday for a broken leg sustained in an off-road bike accident that effectively ended his 2017 title chances.

“The surgery went well. This morning, when I woke up, I felt already good,” the 38-year-old said in a Yamaha statement after the operation in the eastern Italian coastal city of Ancona. “I‘m very sorry for the incident. Now I want to be back on my bike as soon as possible. I will do my best to make it happen."

Yamaha said Rossi was operated on in the early hours after being transferred from hospital in Urbino, where he had initial X-rays.

“Valentino is doing well,” Raffaelle Pascarella, director of the Ancona hospital orthopaedics and trauma department, who performed the procedure, told a news conference. He said the operation lasted about an hour, and involved inserting a metal pin - a locked intramedullary nail - to stabilise displaced fractures of the tibia and fibula of his right leg, without any complications.

'I was struck by how calm he was.'

Rossi will stay in hospital for another three or four days, but should rest for around 40 days. Exactly how long Rossi will wait before getting back on his bike “depends a lot on him”, Pascarella said. 

The accident, while he was riding an off-road enduro bike, and likely recovery time realistically ends Rossi’s title chances for another year. There are six races remaining and he is sure to miss at least two of them. The next race is at Misano on Italy’s Adriatic coast, near Rossi’s home, on 10 September, followed by Aragon in Spain on 24 September.

The Italian veteran is currently fourth in the overall MotoGP standings, 26 points behind leading compatriot Andrea Dovizioso; a race win is worth 25 points.

Rossi also broke his right leg in practice for the Italian Grand Prix in 2010, he returned to MotoGP after an absence of six weeks that time.

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