Hand injury or not, few will be surprised to see Marc Marquez in podium contention at the remaining four MotoGP rounds.
As such he is expected to play an indirect role in the title outcome between Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
The Repsol Honda star needed a plate inserted after fracturing the fifth metacarpal of his left hand in a post-Aragon mountain bike accident. Marquez underwent surgery on the same hand after a dirt track accident in April.
“My injury is not bad. Okay it is little bit different to Jorge [who sprained his shoulder in a training accident] because the bone is broken but I feel okay,” Marquez said at Motegi, Japan on Thursday.
“We will see tomorrow how it is on the bike, especially the braking points where we are pushing a lot. We intend to use a special [modified] handlebar. Otherwise I feel well, I feel ready and we will try to do our best this weekend.”
Last year at Motegi saw Marquez clinch a second MotoGP title in as many attempts. Already 79 points from the 2015 lead, Marquez will officially drop out of championship contention unless he stays within 75 points of the leader on Sunday.
“The championship has gone many races ago, maybe at Silverstone definitely. But at Aragon I made a big mistake because there I was ready to fight for the victory,” confessed Marquez, who slid off on lap two in Spain after pushing too hard in pursuit of a fifth victory this season.
“Now at this race we will see what can be the target, the podium or the top five, it depends on the injury. There are three races in a row, so also this will be tough for the physical condition. We need to manage it well and try to finish the season in a good way.”
Motegi is one of just two circuits where Marquez has not won in the MotoGP class, along with Phillip Island, venue for next weekend's Australian round.