It appears that both Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa will attempt to ride at Jerez this weekend. Dani Pedrosa will get his first chance to ride a MotoGP bike after having radical surgery to cure a persistent arm pump problem, while Marc Marquez has just had surgery to plate a broken proximal phalanx in the little finger of his left hand. Speaking to the Italian website GPOne.com, HRC Team Principal Livio Suppo said that he expected both riders to be present at Jerez, and to test their fitness during practice on Friday.
Suppo told GPOne.com that Marquez had phoned him after the crash, and told him not to worry, he would be at Jerez and ready to race. Speaking to the official MotoGP.com website, Dr. Xavier Mir, who operated on Marquez' finger, confirmed that. After breaking his finger in a collision with another rider, Marquez had been taken to hospital, where a very slim, customized titanium plate was fixed to the proximal phalanx - the bone in the finger closest to the hand - to fix the bone, which was fractured into several fragments, some of which were displaced. Marquez is now undergoing therapy and treatment to remobilize the joint and suppress inflammation, and Dr. Mir was convinced that Marquez would try to race. He would not be at 100%, Dr. Mir added, but riders are capable of taking extra motivation from such situations. With the advent of seamless gearboxes, the left hand is not used very much - only at the start, and in and out of pit lane - but the two outer fingers are very important in terms of grip strength.
As for Pedrosa, the Spaniard is due to test his arms riding a supermoto bike later this week, before heading to Jerez for the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend. Both Pedrosa and Marquez will assess their fitness during practice on Friday, making a final decision on racing based on the outcome of practice. Hiroshi Aoyama will also be on hand, should Pedrosa still not be fit to race. Aoyama has already substituted for Pedrosa at Austin and Argentina, and will be on hand for the test on Monday, where the MotoGP riders will work on their 2015 machines, while the factory test riders will be giving the 2016 Michelin tires another trial at another circuit.
The decision on whether to ride or not will be easier for Pedrosa than it will be for Marquez. Pedrosa is already 56 points behind the championship leader Valentino Rossi, making a shot at the title look extremely unlikely. His aim for the rest of the year will be to challenge for as many wins and podiums as he can. As reigning champion, the pressure on Marquez to race will be much larger. Marquez is 30 points behind Rossi in the title race, which is not as worrying as it could be given the fact that there are still 15 rounds left in the season. With two competitive Ducatis, and the possiblity of both Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo being competitive, along with stronger challenges from Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda and the Tech 3 pairing of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, the opportunities to make up points are much greater than they have been in recent years. It is key for Marquez to manage the points gap to Rossi as best as he can at this stage in the season.