Cal Crutchlow will be back in MotoGP action tomorrow after being passed fit to start practice in Jerez.
The British rider missed the previous race in Argentina after suffering multiple injuries to his right hand in a race crash in Texas last month.
Crutchlow has been spending time in a hyperbaric chamber on the Isle of Man to speed up his recovery, with braking his biggest concern around the physically demanding Jerez track.
The 28-year-old passed a medical examination in the Jerez paddock earlier, but he is expecting serious pain when back on his Ducati GP14 tomorrow.
Crutchlow said he will decide whether to complete the Spanish GP weekend tomorrow, with the former World Supersport champion conscious of his own safety and the safety of his rivals on track.
Crutchlow said: “I wanted to return and it was my decision. It wasn’t as simple as just riding because I had to pass a medical today. I had to squeeze a few hands and say how I felt but be honest as well and say if I can’t ride, I can’t ride. It is not just dangerous for me because if there is a guy in front of me and I can’t stop then it dangerous for everyone. I have to be sensible about it and the hand is getting better day-by-day but it just takes time. If I was sitting at home for another month it would be fine. It is sore but Jerez is the worst circuit to be coming back to because it is the most physical and there is no straight to relax and the braking is really hard for Turn 1, 6 and the last corner.”
Asked what his objectives for the weekend are given the lack of strength in his right hand, Crutchlow added: “I will assess it tomorrow. I’ve got another medical tomorrow evening but I will speak to the team and we all see what we think at the end of the day. It is pointless to carry on if I am just riding around. I felt so bad after the crash that for a week I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t walk up the stairs and I was absolutely wrecked and I worked out I had bruised lungs.”
Crutchlow said he had not been able to grip anything that came close to replicating the brutal braking forces experienced on a 260bhp MotoGP bike.
He told MCN: “I haven ‘t done anything with the hand because anything I do with it sets it back to be honest. If I was to shake somebody’s hand now then I’d be back to the same as Texas because it would wreck it. I believe doing exercise with it was making it worse, so I left it and we will see tomorrow. I am under no illusions that it is going to be tough to ride and if I can’t brake properly then I won’t be riding. I think I have enough power in my fingers to brake but we will see tomorrow.”