Alvaro Bautista is still confident Suzuki can have a strong season despite the start of his year being disrupted by a broken leg.
The Spaniard is the only rider in Suzuki's scaled-back MotoGP squad in 2011, but had to miss the Qatar and Spanish Grands Prix after getting injured in a Losail practice crash. He made a remarkable return at Estoril just six weeks after breaking his femur, and had the pace to get in the top 10 had he not been forced off the road avoiding Karel Abraham's crash.
Bautista said that with his fitness rapidly improving and Suzuki making good progress in testing at Estoril, the team could still feel upbeat about the rest of its campaign, starting at Le Mans this weekend.
"My target is to get to the finish line this year – because I didn't manage that in 2010 – and then build on things for the remainder of the season," he said. "There are still plenty of races left so we have plenty of time to show what we can do. The few laps that I did in the test were good because they showed that the new chassis is an improvement, so we will use that in France and hopefully it will help us to be more competitive."
Last year, Bautista had to sit out the Le Mans race after a practice crash exacerbated shoulder injuries he had already sustained in a Motocross incident. He suggested that despite his broken leg still healing, he would actually be in better shape for this year's French GP than he was 12 months ago.
"I have been working hard since the Portuguese Grand Prix and test to improve my fitness and get ready for Le Mans and the rest of the season," he said. "It was great to be back on the bike at Estoril, but it showed me that I still have some work to do to be up to race fitness.
"I plan to go to Le Mans in a better condition than I went to Estoril and in a much better condition than when I arrived in France last year!"