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The Doctor back on bike 18 days after double leg break

Nine-time world champion Rossi to decide if he will race in Spain this weekend

Italian motor-racing great Valentino Rossi, who broke his right leg barely three weeks ago, got on a test bike yesterday morning and has not ruled out a return to MotoGP in Spain this weekend.

His team Movistar Yamaha said the 38-year-old, whose doctors had advised a 30- to 40-day recovery period, had ridden around the Misano circuit near his home in eastern Italy on a Yamaha YZF-R1M road bike to "put his fitness level to the test".

The evaluation was inconclusive after rain forced him to cut the session short, however.

"He will decide by the end of Wednesday... whether he will attempt to take part in this weekend's Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon," Yamaha said.

Motorsport.com quoted his father Graziano as saying Rossi, nicknamed The Doctor, had completed seven or eight laps and hoped to test again.

"I was told he felt a lot of pain in his right leg, but he could not determine in so few laps whether a return at Aragon could be possible," he said.

Rossi, a nine-time world champion, suffered a double fracture in an accident while riding an off-road enduro bike on Aug 31.

He was forced to undergo surgery and had missed the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano.

Yamaha said last week that Dutch Superbike rider Michael van der Mark would replace him at Aragon for this weekend's race.

The Italian is fourth overall and 42 points behind Honda's Marc Marquez and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, who are tied at the top of the championship.

The race at the Motorland Aragon circuit is the 14th round of the 18-race season.

Yamaha team boss Lin Jarvis said last week he doubted Rossi would go there unless he felt he could be fighting for the top five or six positions.

In 2010, Rossi, a seven-time MotoGP champion, broke his right leg in practice for the Italian Grand Prix, and returned to MotoGP after six weeks.

- REUTERS

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