Alvaro Bautista could make a remarkable return to MotoGP competition during the third round of the season at Estoril after confirming his fractured femur is healing well.
The Spaniard was feared to be facing a lengthy lay-off after suffering the injury at the Qatar Grand Prix season opener, not least because of complications that occurred in the days following the original surgery.
However, a medical check up at the Hospital USP San Jose de Madrid confirmed Bautista is making good progress, enabling him to step up his rehabilitation process.
“We've been looking at the X-rays they took of me this afternoon with Dr Villamor and it appears that the bone is forming well and there's less risk of it not healing well,” he said.
“We've passed the first stage, and that means I should be able to start to push on little by little and start getting stronger in the leg, because I have lost a lot of strength and with less fear I can start to move the bone and regain full feeling. That'll mean I can start exercising with a little resistance and start to speed up the recuperation process to be as quick as possible.”
The Rizla Suzuki rider has even hinted he could be fit in time for the Portuguese Grand Prix in just over two weeks time, though he insists it remains a tight deadline.
“We still have 17 days before I need to get back on a bike. The doctor said everything is going reasonably quickly and that's my objective. I have two weeks in which to work and gain strength in the leg. Before travelling to Estoril I will have another consultation with the medical team, they'll do fresh X-rays to ensure everything's fine and the idea is to return in Portugal.
“It's still not 100 per cent certain, but the only thing on my mind is returning and my aim is to do that in Estoril although it'll be a decision for the medical team. They've told me that if I continue at this pace there is a good chance, but there is still a lot of hard work ahead if I want to get back to a suitable physical condition for MotoGP.”
It is in Suzuki's interests for Bautista to return to action soon as their single entry means they will need to find a replacement or withdraw from the event altogether. John Hopkins substituted at the Spanish Grand Prix, but the American is committed to British Superbikes during the Portuguese event.