Jorge Lorenzo is optimistic that his hand injury will be fully healed in time for next month's MotoGP season opener in Qatar even though it held him back in testing this week.
The Yamaha rider broke a bone in his right thumb when he fell from a motocross bike while training in Spain in mid-February, forcing him to miss the second winter test at Sepang, and hampering him at Losail over the last two nights. He admitted after the second day of running on Friday that he was not completely fit at present.
"Today my hand felt OK, maybe a bit worse than yesterday," Lorenzo said. "Of course, it's not as good as before the accident but this is to be expected. It's hard for me in the braking areas and I can't push any harder than I have been today at the moment, but I hope it will have improved a lot by the time of the first race."
Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg said his performance at Losail, where he took sixth and seventh places in the two tests, had been much better than Yamaha had expected given the Spaniard's physical condition.
"We have been happy here to see that Jorge feels better than expected, even if his thumb is still not perfect," said Zeelenberg. "To be able to finish in the top six when he's not in the best shape is a great achievement. We know there is improvement to make but considering the situation we can be happy with this test. Now we have almost three weeks until the race and this gives Jorge time to improve further, so hopefully we will be in good shape when we return."
Lorenzo added that he was determined to be fit in time to give his maximum in the race as teammate Valentino Rossi's times and the satellite Tech 3 squad's strong showings suggested that the 2010 Yamaha was the bike to beat going into the new season.
"Our bike is great, Yamaha has done a fantastic job and you can see this from the strong performance of all the Yamaha riders," said Lorenzo. "We've done a lot of work and tried many things, so I hope that these will help us when we come back here in three weeks. I will keep working to strengthen my hand and I hope to be in much better condition by then."