Jorge Lorenzo is adamant that he will take part in the final MotoGP winter test in Qatar despite his injuries, but will not be pushing for quick times.
The Yamaha rider had to sit out the last test at Sepang having sustained a hand injury when he crashed a motocross bike while training. His management had suggested Lorenzo would probably not be fit for the Losail test next week, but the Spaniard has decided he needs to get back on track as part of his recovery.
"Yes, I'm going to the Qatar test," Lorenzo told Motosprint. "I've taken this decision for several reasons, including the need to understand how my hand is doing, but certainly not to set the quickest lap time.
"I have thought about forgoing testing and going straight to the first race. But I feel like going to the tests. I'd like to recover some feeling, some confidence, basically I want to get back in touch with my bike. Even if it's just a couple of laps, I want to see how I feel on the saddle."
He admitted that the injury is likely to compromise his form in the season-opener at Losail in mid-April too, but is optimistic it will not spoil his title bid.
"I think I won't be well prepared when we get to the first race," said Lorenzo. "I won't be, and neither will be my bike. In any case, I don't want to get disheartened. I carry on thinking positive, since the season is long: 18 grands prix are a lot of races, we need to think long term. As for the first race, I will try to limit the damage as much as possible – that would already be a positive thing for me."
Lorenzo said that starting the season carrying an injury would be a new experience for him.
"This is the first time I've hurt myself during the winter preparations, when there's testing, with the championship nearing," he said. "This is a new situation for me. This is an injury that takes a long time to recover from, it needs time and patience.
"The incredible thing is that sometimes you have big crashes while going quick and you don't hurt yourself at all, while this time I hurt myself plenty while going 30kph. The real problem is that I crashed on the asphalt. I was in a turn, the bike lost grip and I found myself down all of a sudden. I put down my hand and broke the first metacarpus. It's the right hand, the one you accelerate with.
"From a medical point of view, I can try to get some running in Doha. But I must go slow, and that's what I will do. I will try to think about everything except lap times. Neither mine nor the others."
"Movement of the finger is still limited, and the arm has lost quite a lot of muscle tone. But this is normal, I'm not worried about that."