Jorge Lorenzo admits he feared the worst when he was flung from his Movistar Yamaha in a massive high-side during FP3 at the Japanese MotoGP.
Incredibly, Lorenzo escaped with bruising and was able to compete in FP4 and qualifying following medical checks, battling back to seal third place on the front row.
On Friday, Dani Pedrosa was ruled out with a broken collarbone following a big high-side and reigning MotoGP world champion Lorenzo feared he had been injured after heavy contact with the tarmac following the painful crash.
“It was one of the worst crashes in my career, after China  probably. It's been a long time since I had a crash like that – flying a lot of metres in the air and touching the ground very strong.
"I was scared at the beginning because all my body was hurting and I expected the worst, a big injury, especially in the left leg. But finally it was just a big impact, in all the body, but especially in this leg,” Lorenzo said.
“For caution, we went to the hospital and they checked all my body. We came back to the track to make FP4 and it was much better than I expected.
“When I came back from the hospital I couldn't walk very well and I have a lot of pain. But with painkillers and the adrenalin of qualifying I forget and I felt well and with power, so it should be okay for tomorrow.”
Lorenzo lapped in 1m 44.221s to end Q2 0.267s behind pole man Rossi and believes he has a strong chance to fight for another premier class win at the Twin Ring circuit, where he has won three times in the past.
“The bike was working well and I was faster and faster every lap, so I was really surprised about that. I was ready to fight for the pole position but the lap times from Marc and Rossi were very fast, especially the one of Rossi following [Maverick] Vinales. I couldn't get close and I pushed but I couldn't make pole position,” he said.
“I'm happy with this front row, I think we have good potential to fight for the victory tomorrow. It will be crucial at the start and it depends on how all the riders feel on the bike – if they feel better or worse than Saturday,” added Lorenzo.
“Especially the last 10 laps will be important and the riders who can control more the rear tyre will have a big advantage at the end of the race. I expect a close race at the beginning, maybe a little less close in the last laps.”