Injured MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo
has been given the green light to race in this afternoon's Dutch TT.
Lorenzo broke his collarbone at the Assen circuit on Thursday, had a plate inserted during surgery in Barcelona during the early hours of Friday, then flew back and rode to eighth in this morning's warm-up!
The Factory Yamaha star, just seven points behind title leader Dani Pedrosa, rode for eleven laps in warm-up, after which a second medical was required for clearance to start the 26-lap race.
Those unspecified tests have now been passed and the triple 2013 race winner will be able to line-up twelfth on the grid. Although he missed qualifying, his free practice time had been quick enough for a place in Friday's top twelve pole position shootout.
“Well, finally we are here, to race,” said Lorenzo. “In the first laps of the warm up I felt a lot of pain, especially when the bike accelerated and I had to hold it strongly. I thought of either giving up or continuing but luckily I continued and the pain decreased as I did more laps. I've grown accustomed to molding my body to the bike to avoid pain.
"The problem will be in the race when I have to overtake on the brakes because I can´t force the shoulder a lot. I have a good rhythm and I feel much better on the turns, but obviously worse than on Thursday.
"Anyway, I have decided to race. Just finishing the race would be a small victory for me but I would like to take at least five points or more, to take less would not be much after suffering a lot. At the end of the race we'll see if it was worth it. I'm proud of myself for the effort in these two difficult days after the crash and also of my team for their support.”
There had been some speculation that Yamaha might use the situation to open a new engine, above the five engines per season allowed, thus incurring a pit lane start. Lorenzo has already opened four out of his five engines, after a problem with one of them.
However Lorenzo will line-up on the grid as normal and simply try to score as many points as possible. Lorenzo's first priority will be a trouble free race, having been taken down by other riders on the opening lap of the last two Dutch MotoGPs.
In the long term, Lorenzo's early return sets a precedent that other injured riders will doubtless try to follow.