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The remarkable return of Roberto Locatelli

The remarkable return of Roberto Locatelli

Roberto Locatelli is making a remarkable return to the MotoGP scene this weekend at Le Mans after two months of operations and rehabilitation.

Roberto Locatelli is making a remarkable return to the MotoGP scene this weekend at Le Mans after two months of operations and rehabilitation, and looks in remarkably good shape considering the extent of the injuries he suffered during his horror crash at Jerez.

The Metis Gilera rider is not certain of racing on Sunday but he completed 25 laps of the famous French circuit in the opening 250cc free practice session, and even managed to lap fastest than the slowest quarter litre class rider of the morning, Honda LCR's Eugene Laverty.

Still walking with a pronounced limp, and with a facial scar only hinting at the surgery he has undergone since his impact with a wall at the Spanish circuit in practice for the second 250cc race of the season, Locatelli continues his rehabilitation program at the Clinica Mobile facility each day.

Locatelli, Dr Costa Costa and members of the Piaggio group also gave a press conference yesterday, in which the medical efforts and the strength of character displayed by the former 125cc World Champion were acknowledged. There was also an explanation of the cause of the crash, which was put down to a mechanical failure.

Defending his team Locatelli commented: "These things happen. It's obvious that I enjoy riding, but they pay me to push the bike to the limit and we are all working to get the best possible results. At this stage I want to acknowledge the hard work of all my mechanics, from Aprilia and Piaggio. I feel lucky to be here at Le Mans, returning to competition, and I don't think about the bad luck I had to be involved in this accident."

"This has been a new experience in my life even though I don't remember anything about what happened. It has made me realise how much I love the people in the paddock, in the World Championship. There are people here who are like brothers to me and Doctor Costa is like a second father."

Doctor Costa himself added: "The truth is that after the accident the prognosis was serious, and I was talking about the future to try to relieve the pain I felt about the state which Locatelli was in. Roberto had a mountain to climb to be here and I was surprised when he told me ‘Claudio, you're wrong, because I'll be in Le mans'. He has a great inner strength, with his family and friends supporting him, this is what helps us understand this recovery, and especially, Roberto's huge willpower when he was saying, ‘I want to ride again'. He was won the battle of his life."

MotoGP, 2007, ALICE GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Roberto Locatelli

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