Yukio Kagayama has admitted that he is being held back by the hand injury he sustained in an accident at the N?rburgring last month, but remains adamant that just one thing is motivating him to return to full fitness as rapidly as possible - victory.
The Japanese star rode through the pain last time out in the 2008 World Superbike Championship at Misano in Italy, but fading away to finish just eleventh and twelfth in the two races showed that all was far from right [see separate story - click here], with the disappointing results equally dropping the 34-year-old down outside the top ten in the riders' standings.
"The hand is still broken, and there are still damaged ligaments," he confessed, speaking exclusively to Crash.net during last weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed. "It's stopping me from applying full power on the bike, but I'm continuing to race. For sure it's a problem, but I'm doing my best to catch the others up.
"I'm now eleventh in the championship and it isn't easy, but I'm enjoying the racing and everybody in my team is doing a great job."
When asked what his objectives are once his hand has fully recovered, the Suzuki Alstare ace was unequivocal - 'Just win - win, win, win!' - whilst he professed himself confident that he would remain with the team in 2009, stating: "I think so, yes. It's not confirmed, but I want to ride with them again."
As to his thoughts on Goodwood - bringing together the great and the good of the motor racing world spanning more than half a century, Kagayama was quick to express his enthusiasm.
"I like it here," he underlined. "I like this event. I've experienced it several times, and I always enjoy the weekend. It's fun going up the hill on the bike!"
by Russell Atkins