Toby Price believes that the wrist fracture which required surgery last month will not be too much of a hindrance as he seeks a second Dakar title from tomorrow morning.
Price had a screw inserted in his right wrist after breaking the scaphoid in a training accident in mid-December.
The 2016 Dakar winner confirmed that he has not yet recovered from his latest injury but hopes that it will not cause too much pain during the 11-day event.
“We ended up breaking a scaphoid in my wrist, on the right side, but we got it fixed I think and it should be half-decent, so we’ll just see how the race goes,” said Price.
“There’s a little bit of pain, for sure; in three-and-a-half (or) four weeks there’s going to be something.
“The scaphoid’s not the best bone to be breaking and it takes a long time for the recovery process, but all in all we’re still comfortable, still happy, and we’ll see how the race kicks off for us.
“If we’re in the right position, and the wrist can put up with the pressure and everything, then we’ll definitely go full gas.
“We’ll see, but we’re definitely here to win like everyone’s here to win, and we’ll see how it goes.”
The accident means that the 31-year-old will enter Dakar under a fitness cloud for the second year in a row, having not long resumed training following his 2017 leg break ahead of last year’s edition.
Price will be among the main hopes for KTM, which has won the Bikes division for the past 17 Dakars, alongside last year’s winner Matthias Walkner.
He starts as the reigning FIM Cross-Country Rallies world champion and also won the Tatts Finke Desert Race for a sixth time in nine years in June 2018.
The other Australians in the 137-strong Bikes field are factory Yamaha rider Rodney Faggotter and rookies Ben Young and James Ferguson, each of whom will be on KTMs.
After a departure podium ceremony overnight, Stage 1 from Lima to Pisco, featuring a relatively brief 84km of special stage running, starts in the early hours of tomorrow morning (AEDT).