By Stephen English
Jorge Lorenzo's decision to return to Assen and try to ride in Saturday's race has been greeted with both admiration and disbelief within the MotoGP paddock.
The reigning world champion fell heavily during Thursday's wet FP2 session and suffered a fractured left collarbone.
Lorenzo immediately flew back to Barcelona for surgery - a titanium plate and eight screws - but then returned to Assen on Friday evening, when Yamaha confirmed rumours that he will try and ride in morning warm-up.
Lorenzo's rivals spoke about his decision to return, with team-mate Valentino Rossi
"If Jorge is confident and feels good enough to race tomorrow it's a good choice. If tomorrow he doesn't feel good or has pain then it's a good choice not to race. He's fighting for the championship, so if he wants to try it's a good choice [to try and ride]."
Bradley Smith also understood Lorenzo's desire to return, given that he is fighting for the title.
"You do whatever you need to do to win a world championship," said the Yamaha Tech 3 rookie. "If he feels ready to go out and score points I'm not the man to tell him otherwise. He knows his condition and the medical staff will only pass him fit if he's ready to ride.
"If I was fighting for the championship I'd be the same and trying to comeback and race. He's showing how much he's willing to put in to this to win the championship."
Lorenzo's championship rival Dani Pedrosa, who has broken collarbones numerous times, knows just how hard it will be for the #99.
"It's brave from Jorge but only he knows how he feels and how he is after waking up from the surgery," said the Repsol Honda rider. "Every injury is different and he's the only one who can judge it. It's very painful racing with a broken collarbone, when I broke mine last time I raced many weeks later and I couldn't really make the braking. After all that surgery I wasn't feeling well because of the medication."
Cal Crutchlow, who claimed his first MotoGP pole on Saturday, made clear that the achievement did not mean as much to him without Lorenzo on track. When asked about Lorenzo possibly returning for race day, the colourful Englishman said: "If he rides he's my hero!"
Crutchlow then gave a personal insight into the kind of painful medical test Lorenzo will face on Saturday morning.
"I broke my collarbone at Silverstone in 2011 and when I came back here [two weeks later] I had a medical test of press-ups. So if he passes it he's strong. Maybe he can do some meditation or something before and then go for it!
"If he passes it I'm sure he can ride. Riding the bike is probably easier than the press-ups."