Australia’s Jack Miller has no intention of taming his aggressive riding style this MotoGP season, despite breaking his leg “to pieces” a month ago.
The young Queenslander fractured his right tibia and fibula while training on a motocross bike in Spain the day before his 21st birthday, requiring surgery.
He was back behind the handlebars for the first time with his new Marc VDS Honda team last week, completing three days of testing at Phillip Island to finish 15th fastest on the combined timesheets.
To be able to walk, let alone ride, within a month of the injury was “unreal”, Miller said.
“Who would’ve thought that?” he told AAP at this week’s Fox Sports 2016 launch.
“It was a massive break, the leg was broken to pieces.
“But the recuperation has been so quick.”
While in Australia, Miller has been working closely with a physiotherapist in Townsville – who also treats North Queensland Cowboys’ NRL players.
Having regained motion in his leg and ankle, and with the swelling reduced, he will leave the country for Qatar on Saturday ahead of the next official test on March 2 followed by the season-opener on March 20.
Even with lingering pain, he insists there won’t be any hesitation.
“For sure not,” he said.
“I feel really motivated and ready to go.”
Miller has the chance to improve on his career-best 11th finish as a MotoGP rookie last year with the second-tier Marc VDS outfit and a bike with factory support.
Also working in his favour is the category’s switch to Michelin tyres and a standardised engine control unit.
The 21-year-old is aiming for consistent top-10 finishes – “I’d be pissed off if I was outside the top 10” – and finish more races than he did last year, when he had seven retirements.
“I’m a bit more mature now, of course, and we’ll be pushing to keep it under control but I won’t be letting up too much,” he said.
The ultimate goal, though, is to step up into a top-tier factory team as early as next year.
“That’s what we’re after,” he said.
“A lot of contracts run out at the end of this year, so we’ll be pushing for something like that.
“But we’ll take each race as it comes so we’ll see.”