MotoGP title contender Jorge Lorenzo feared he would need surgery after hurting his left shoulder in a training accident last Saturday.
Less than a week after cutting Rossi's advantage to 14 points at Aragon, Lorenzo found himself undergoing medical checks in Barcelona after a training fall.
“I had a crash last Saturday so I was quite worried,” Lorenzo said on Thursday at Motegi, venue for this weekend's Japanese MotoGP. “Firstly because I thought it could be much worse and then when I arrived into the hospital, before they X-ray, they were thinking that maybe I could need an operation. But luckily after we made the X-ray there was no need for an operation, so I was breathing very deeply and less worried.”
Lorenzo is reported to have suffered sprained ligaments, but crucially no further damage to the collarbone he broke twice during 2013.
“I feel a little bit of pain,” said Lorenzo, who wore a sling for the flight to Japan this week. “Not so much pain, but not very comfortable when I move the shoulder. But luckily it has improved so much. Every day I felt a big improvement. We've done everything we can to accelerate the process of recovery. Today I feel very good, I think tomorrow I will be better and by Sunday better again. Maybe I will be close to 100%.”
Lorenzo has an impressive Motegi record with wins in 2009, 2013 and 2014, plus runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2012.
“Theoretically this track is not the best for our bike because there is a lot of big braking, slow corners and acceleration. But during these last two years we found a great setup, I rode very well with my bike and finally we could beat the Hondas. I feel very proud about that,” Lorenzo declared
“Every year is different but I think it will help a lot that the Yamaha M1 has been very competitive at all the tracks, so this could be a good race for us but you never know what can happen.”
That includes the weather, with reports of possible rain on Sunday. Having lost points to Rossi in both rain races this season, such conditions will be seen as playing into the hands of the Italian.
“We cannot control the weather. Like most riders I would prefer a dry race. If it rains we will have to adapt soon to these conditions and also it will depend on the quantity of rain and the setting of the bike,” Lorenzo said.
“The two years ago I was very fast in the rain. I made a pole position. But sometimes you get into the rain and you don't feel good and you're not fast. Other times you are the fastest. It depends a lot on many things.
“I would also prefer dry weekend because there is less possibility to crash, which would be worse with his injury. But you never know. Maybe tomorrow I might not be fast in the dry, but fast in the wet. So let's see.”
Lorenzo has won six races this year, two more than Rossi.