American Nicky Hayden is confident he will be fit to make his debut on Ducati’s new GP12 when winter testing resumes at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia on January 31.
The American is currently recovering from a broken left shoulder blade and three broken ribs after he crashed at a private flat-track course in between Christmas and New Year.
Hayden hasn’t yet ridden the new GP12 after he was forced to miss the Valencia test back in early November after he broke his right wrist in a crash at the first corner of the final race of 2011.
The 2006 world champion, speaking during Ducati’s team launch at the spectacular Madonna di Campiglio ski resort in Italy earlier today, said: "It has been exactly two weeks today since the crash and now I can remove the sling. The first bit was a little bit uncomfortable because I also broke three ribs, and ribs are never fun, but now I can take away the sling and start to do a bit of rehab. The goal is to be able to ride in Malaysia.
"It is going to be a little bit close because the shoulder blade I broke quite bad and all the way through. I didn’t make an operation because it is not an easy one to fix, with a lot of muscle and other soft tissue that you have to cut during an operation. But I feel a lot better now and the target is to be in Malaysia with a bit of strength. I already missed one test in Valencia and I don't want to miss another one."