Bradley Smith is confident his recovering left wrist will not be a major problem during this weekend’s German MotoGP round at the tight and twisty Sachsenring track.
A broken scaphoid bone in his left wrist has troubled the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider ever since he damaged it in a big practice crash last month in Mugello.
The injury was proving so troublesome that the 22-year-old underwent an operation immediately after the recent Catalunya clash to insert a screw to stabilise the scaphoid bone.
But the Oxfordshire rider was still in some pain and discomfort during a battling ride to ninth at the previous race in Assen and he has been undergoing intensive physiotherapy to try and improve the wrist ahead of a challenging Sachsenring weekend.
The German circuit is dominated by left-hand corners that will place extra stress on Smith’s wrist but speaking at a sponsor event for Dewalt at Silverstone last week, Smith told MCN: “It has improved a lot since Assen, so I am quite confident that it will be fine.
"I am getting range of movement back and now it is a case of working on the power. The last few races I’ve had a tendency to be using the right side of my body more but in Germany and Laguna you are kind of forced to use the left.
"It is not going to be comfortable and I think at the Sachsenring I will have the same pain as I did in Barcelona and there I just had to strap it up and take a painkiller. I can ride like that no problem.”
Smith has been having physiotherapy every other day and when not under treatment he is constantly icing the wrist to reduce swelling.
But he admits it is unlikely that the wrist will be back to 100% until the Indianapolis round in mid-August after the summer break.
He added: “I’ve been told that I’m not going to be happy with it until Indy. It will be better in Germany and as long as I look after it, it will be better in Laguna as well. It is just a case of stretching the ligaments and muscles so that everything is nice and loose and I keep that range of movement.
"One of the most important things for repairing that area is blood flow and I’ve been working a lot on that. At the moment I’m having to do a lot of self massage and icing and heating it up and that’s nice because it feels like you are doing something to help with your recovery.”
Smith claimed a stunning sixth place on the grid in Assen and then raced to his fifth successive top 10 finish, but explaining why the wrist had been so problematic in Holland he said: “I touched a nerve unfortunately with all the inflammation that was inside the wrist.
"A lot of ligaments and nerves were basically being squashed and pinched together and then each time I was getting on the brakes or moving in that area I'd get a sharp shooting pain. We’ve reduced the swelling in that area and we are not touching nerves now and that’s a good place to start.
Unfortunately there is a root of a nerve that goes straight through the scaphoid, so if you go and put a screw through there it is always going to be moving or touching something.”
For full coverage of the Sachsenring race, see the July 17 issue of Motor Cycle News.