Dani Pedrosa's return to MotoGP competition following the operation on his fractured collarbone got off to a nervous start as he kept it cautious in the rain at Phillip Island.
The Spaniard, who was forced to watch his title dreams end from the sidelines at Sepang, is back on the Repsol Honda for the Australian Grand Prix, but was forced to maintain caution in treacherous conditions.
However, while the risk of falling and injuring himself further was certainly greater, Pedrosa says he simply needed to get out on track to evaluate his condition.
“The plan today was simply to check my condition on the bike - in these conditions I didn't want to take any unnecessary risks,” he said after completing seven laps at ten seconds off the pace. “What I can say is that I had some strength to move on the bike and put pressure on the handlebars which is good.
“However, I didn't feel very comfortable with the leathers because they were tight and there was pressure - but even with that I could do some laps and tomorrow I will try again - we will go step-by-step. Now it's quite painful but we will see how the pain goes through the night and tomorrow we will take another step. We knew it wouldn't be easy but I just hope that the effort is worth it in the end.
“To ride in wet conditions is more smooth than in the dry, but also more risky. The asphalt today was very, very cold and here it's a problem because on the right hand turns you don't have any grip at all. The hardest po int was braking, changing direction and in the right hand corners because I have to stretch my arms a lot - but I hope we can work a little bit on the leathers to make it more comfortable for tomorrow.
“Afterwards I went to the Clinica Mobile and they told me that now I need to relax the muscles. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.”