In the press release announcing Álvaro Bautista’s intent to race in the Portuguese GP, the heading describes the Spaniard as having “true grit” during today’s Free Practice sessions at Estoril. Now normally with MotoGP press releases, these headings are a bit of hyperbole, but considering just over a month ago Bautista’s femur, the largest bone in the human body, was in two pieces, we’re inclined to agree that the Spanish rider has shown remarkable determination in getting back onto the saddle of the Suzuki GSV-R.
Initial estimates pegged Bautista’s return to be at Le Mans for the French GP, but hard work at his physical therapy sessions, and an obscene amount of time in a hyperbaric chamber have accelerated Bautista’s healing process. With today’s work in the Rizla Suzuki garage showing that he has the ability to ride on his leg just a mere 42 days after he broke it, the young GP rider has earned a lot of street cred in the MotoGP paddock.
“I am very happy because I think that nobody expected that after little more than one month I would be able to jump on the bike and ride!” exclaimed Bautista. “When I broke my femur my target was to ride here and I worked very hard to make it happen. I did many kilometres every day between Talavera and Madrid, for my visits to the hyperbaric chamber and for the physiotherapy that I needed – now I can say that I am here and I am riding because of that! I am still not 100%, because I need some more power in my leg, but to be able to ride and get a feeling for the bike and the reference points around the track in my mind to be a MotoGP rider, I am certainly fit enough.”
“I went one second faster this afternoon than I did this morning and my feeling on the bike was very similar, I was just a bit more confident so I could push more. I didn’t want to risk anything today, it was all about riding and getting a feeling – I didn’t want to push too hard to find that fast lap-time. I am improving every time I get on the bike so that makes things look good for the rest of the weekend. My leg is a bit stiff now so I will need to recover and get a bit of work on it this evening, but it recovered quickly after this morning’s session, so I don’t think that will be a problem. I think my body is also remembering how to ride a MotoGP bike as well as my mind is, so that is a very positive thing.”
“I want to say a big thank-you to all the team for all the confidence they have shown in me. They all know that it is difficult for me to get to my maximum level, but they have given me their full support – so thanks to all of them for that.”
Source: Rizla Suzuki