Marc Marquez admits he will not be “100 percent fit” for the 2014 MotoGP season opener at Qatar.
The Spaniard enters the first round of his title defence still fighting to recover from the broken leg he sustained in a training accident in February.
He was forced to sit out the final two pre-season tests at Sepang and Phillip Island as a result of the injury.
“We’re getting better,” Marquez said when asked about his recovery. “The bone is mending, which is important, and every time I have a review with [MotoGP surgeon] Dr. Mir he tells me that my condition is improving.
“I’m gradually exercising more, so we’ll see how we are in Qatar. Clearly I will not be 100 percent fit, but I shall try to be as prepared as possible.”
Marquez admitted he will start the year on the back foot after missing so much of the pre-season, and stressed that caution will be vital when he does get back on the bike in Qatar practice.
“Obviously, I would prefer to get to Qatar fully prepared after a normal preseason, but the situation is what it is,” he explained. “I’ll have to be patient, especially in the first practice, as it’s been about a month and a half since I last got on the bike.
“The fact that the first Sepang test went very well and we were able to try many things gives us peace of mind, but it is clear that we have things still on the ‘to do’ list from pre-season so we will have to work a little harder at the first few races.
“The pressure is there: to be champion, to defend the title. I’ll have to be careful, because right from the first session we will have the world watching us.
“For the first race we have the excuse of having missed pre-season, so also we ourselves will have to see how it goes. The priority in Qatar is to take things calmly, get points, and then in Austin it will be another normal weekend.”