Jorge Lorenzo was on Thursday declared fit to race in Thailand’s inaugural MotoGP after suffering a foot injury, despite the Ducati driver still feeling the effects of a crash in Aragon last month.
The 31-year-old Spaniard dislocated his toe at Turn One of the Aragon Grand Prix, a crash which undid his hard work to seal pole position.
He blamed compatriot and world champion Marc Marquez, who went on to win the race and inch closer to his fifth MotoGP world title.
Marquez is 72 points ahead of second-place rider Andrea Dovizioso, while Lorenzo is in fourth.
In a tweet Thursday MotoGP said Lorenzo was “declared fit” for the weekend’s racing at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram.
But Lorenzo, a three-time championship winner, was still using crutches on Thursday to keep the pressure off his damaged foot.
“I am positive… Hopefully I will jump into ride tomorrow and I will have enough power,” he told reporters of his chances of competing in Thailand, a day before the start of practice sessions.
Marquez called his compatriot on Monday to discuss his condition but was coy on what was said between the pair, who will be stablemates next year at Repsol Honda.
“I speak with him (only),” Marquez told reporters.
Thailand is hosting the MotoGP for the first time, a big win for a country with hopes of one day luring the Formula One.
Preparations were in full swing Thursday, as the sleepy town of Buriram in northeastern Thailand revs up for its biggest sporting event.
Rows of tents also lined the outside of the track in fields to provide extra lodging for the more than 100,000 people expected to descend on the town for Sunday’s race.
Fans making the five-hour drive up from Bangkok passed by rice paddies and grazing water buffaloes, a landscape common to Thailand’s rural northeast.
The event will take on a local twist with a special exhibition of Muay Thai, the country’s traditional martial art.
Riders have not been on the track since February, and some have said the weather is a cause for concern at the tail-end of Thailand’s rainy season, which leaves open the possibility of slick and humid conditions.
“It’s very very hot, and it can rain every day,” Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi said. “We hope first of all for a dry race.” With the exception of a brief downfall on Thursday afternoon, the weather was clear and slightly cloudy.