MotoGP rookie Alvaro Bautista has confirmed he intends to take part in this weekend's French Grand Prix - despite fracturing his collarbone in a motocross accident late last week.
The Rizla Suzuki rider took his first MotoGP finish with tenth place in round two at Jerez before injuring his shoulder during a 'small accident' while training on a motocross bike last Thursday.
An hour-long operation followed on Friday morning, after which surgeons gave Bautista the all-clear to try and compete at Le Mans, but he is clearly facing a very difficult weekend.
“It seems like it has been a long time between the Jerez race and now and I want to get going again. Unfortunately for me I had a small accident last week and broke a bone in my shoulder. It has been repaired and although it is quite painful I am totally focused on the weekend ahead,” he insisted.
“Le Mans is not one of my favourite tracks and it is the only one that I have not had a podium at, so it would be great to change that as soon as possible! I was on pole there in 2009, but only finished fourth, so I need to try and break that record. I was 10th at Jerez and although I was top rookie I still want to do better.
“I didn't get a very good start in Spain and I have to work on that, I did some practice in the test so I hope I will be able to improve in time for the race. Anyway, these are details - the most important thing is just to ride the bike, I will do my best”
Experienced team-mate Loris Capirossi was on the podium at Le Mans in 2006 and has never finished outside the top 10 in a completed race.
“I really need to get on track again as it seems like the season is yet to get going, it's amazing to think we're almost in June and we've only done two races!” said Loris, who crashed out at Jerez.
“With such little action it is difficult to judge where we are at the moment, but the one-day test after the last race in Jerez was very good for us and we made some positive steps. Le Mans is always a gamble because you never know what weather to expect - we have heard it should be good but you can't always guarantee that so we will need to be ready for anything.
“On thing is for sure, I am ready to get back to work and excited about the prospects we have ahead – and I hope Alvaro is ready to ride, he is improving all the time and we need two strong riders.”