Abraham missed races early in 2013 after breaking his right collarbone in Austin and then damaging his left shoulder in a huge high-side crash at Indianapolis. He then rode through the pain at his home round in Brno and did not complete his last race of the season at Misano, eventually having surgery to rebuild the shoulder in October.
Months of rehab and grueling test sessions followed as he regained movement and strength in his shoulder – so to cross the finishing line 13th on his comeback in Qatar, as the 2014 season got underway, was a notable achievement for Abraham.
“The shoulder is getting better and we are working really hard on it but I’m a bit worried about the next race at Austin,” he acknowledged. “In Qatar, that’s more of a flowing track with not so many sharp turns, not so many left turns, not so much hard braking, whereas in Austin there are lots of left turns with hard braking points, so that will not be easy for sure.”
Asked whether seeing the retirement of Ben Spies last year due to ongoing injury problems had made him fear for his career, Abraham answered, “Yes, I was worried for quite a long time and honestly I still am. I know that it is different to Spies’ injury because I’ve already been able to complete a full race and it was not so bad.”
“It hurt a lot after my operation and I was working hard for a month and a half and thinking it should feel better. I was frustrated. Finally five months after the operation it’s got a lot better. I can do everything in my normal life, even motocross training is ok, but once you get on a MotoGP bike it’s different.”
“You have to really lean and get over the bike on the turns and that pushes the shoulder to the limit, so it hurts quite a lot. I was pleased to finish the race in Qatar and it’s now a case of just making the final improvements, like in racing getting the last few tenths is the hardest part. But I hope in one month it will be even better.”
On the subject of his new ‘Open’ class package for 2014 and his adaptation to the Honda RCV1000R, Abraham stated, “As a rider you always complain about the power or other elements and you always want the bike to get better. I think our bike could be slightly faster and you can see especially the Yamaha ‘Open’ riders flying away from us on the straight. About the chassis I can’t complain though, because it feels much better than what I had last year, so I’m happier with the Honda bike than I ever was before.”Grand Prix of Qatar, Karel Abraham, MotoGP