Jorge Lorenzo says he won’t be 100% for his return at the final MotoGP pre-season test in Qatar while he is bracing for tough opening rounds in his Repsol Honda debut campaign.

The five-time world champion’s 2019 preparations were derailed when he suffered a left scaphoid fracture in a training accident less than three weeks before the Sepang pre-season test.

After undergoing surgery, it was confirmed Lorenzo would miss this week’s test in Malaysia to focus on his rehabilitation and return at the final pre-season test in Qatar (February 23-26).

Speaking to MotoGP’s After The Flag show, Lorenzo gave an update on his recovery with progress “going faster than normal” as he braces for a tough return to action with Repsol Honda.

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“Four days ago I started to swim in the pool,” Lorenzo said. “Every day we are gaining some degrees and getting stronger but these kinds of injuries require at least one month.

“We’re on day 17, so it’s still quite a long process to finish. At the Qatar test I will probably not be at 100% but I will be ready to ride and get some information for the test very close to the first race.

“It’s difficult to know how I will feel at more than 300kms an hour on the straight and brake to stop that MotoGP bike. It’s difficult to understand with the changes of direction.”

Assessing his own fitness over the opening rounds, Lorenzo is also preparing for a tricky race debut with the factory Honda squad in March at Qatar, along with the two flyaway in Argentina and the USA which follow, meaning his goals remain focused on regaining speed rather than outright results.

“I will have some little pain still after two or three months, but I think I will be able to be competitive in the third race,” he said. “For sure, we’ll struggle a bit in Qatar and in the next two or three races but our goal is to improve the bike and if we can be fast, we can win races and if it’s something much better than expected, we could fight for the world title.

“For now, I’m not one of the favourites, there are other riders like Marc, obviously, who must lead and fight for the world title, together with Dovizioso, Valentino [Rossi], who is always there and knows the bike and Vinales, for example.”

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