Davide Giugliano has spoken openly about his fear after his heavy crash at Laguna Seca in which he broke a vertebra as he prepares to ride a World Superbike machine for the first time since the accident.
The Aruba.it Ducati World Superbike squad warmly welcomes back the Italian rider on his return from injury as he commences his winter testing schedule alongside team-mate Chaz Davies in Jerez this week.
2015 represented a nightmare campaign for Giugliano, who missed the opening four rounds through injury after fracturing two lumbar vertebrae in a testing crash at Phillip Island. After a spirited return at Imola, taking a podium finish in first race back, his season was prematurely ended at Laguna Seca with his second back-breaking crash inside six months.
The Roman rider has admitted he was scared whether he would be able to return to a 'normal life', let alone be able to race in World Superbikes again.
"It took a lot of patience, but the most important thing is that I could get back to a normal life,” Giugliano said to worldsbk.com
“It was a bad injury, and I was scared. To be able to talk away with just
a broken vertebra and some bruises was far from granted. I want to thank my technical sponsors, Arai and Dainese, for protecting me from something with potentially much worse consequences.”
The Italian says his healing process was frustrating and painful at times as he couldn't do any strength workouts and lost muscle, and had been walking 12-13kms a day to stay fit. The Ducati rider also feared a tougher challenge going on inside his head when he first got his leg back over a motorbike.
“I was really eager to ride again, but I also had to overcome a mental barrier,” he explained. “I haven't forgotten the physical pain I endured and the bitterness associated with being forced to sit out for such a long time. We don't need to act like superheroes. We're all human, each with his or her own fears – and I thought a lot about them in the past few months – but our passion rises above them.
“I ride with my heart. Being on the bike is crucial for me, it gives me strength. The first hard-braking point represented a sort of a bet, as I wasn't sure I could find the old sensations. But, as soon as I got the bike sideways, I felt an incredible burst of joy. Maybe even more than in the past.”
Giugliano will work with experienced crew chief Aligi Deganello and race engineer Paolo Biasio, who have assisted Marco Simoncelli in the past, at the Jerez test and is looking to regain his confidence on the Ducati Panigale R before the winter testing ban commences in December.
“I need to rebuild my confidence with the bike," he said. "Superbikes' behavior cannot be replicated with the other kinds of bikes we train with. I have to start from scratch and set a better course.
"I need to do many laps, to understand how my body reacts. It usually takes eight weeks to get back in shape, and I only had two and a half. I'm not 100 percent, but it's not the first time I have to deal with this kind of problem.”