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LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow will make a return to MotoGP action this week in Sepang testing after the huge crash at Phillip Island that curtailed his 2018 season.
Crutchlow was forced to miss the final three races of 2018 after a major fall in practice for the Australian Grand Prix left him requiring multiple operations on his right ankle.
An LCR spokesperson confirmed that Crutchlow will ride a MotoGP bike for the first time since the accident in the opening test of 2019 at Sepang, which kicks off on Wednesday.
In an interview with MotoGP.com conducted late last year, Crutchlow said his injury was severe enough that he had not been able to walk for more than a month after the crash.
“The extent of the injury that I’ve had to my tibia, fibia and the talus bone in the ankle, was a big one, a very, very big one,” he said.
“I had a fantastic surgeon who has managed to put it back together very well.
“I’m a typical motorcycle racer – you do think you’ll be back straight away, you think, ‘It’s a broken bone, no problem, put a pin in it or a plate in it and I’ll be back racing’.
“But this wasn’t the case with this injury, I was told. And I’m still not able to walk.
“I have been cycling, but I haven’t been walking on it. The impact of walking would damage the artificial bone that’s gone in. I have to take it easy.
“Fingers crossed and I’ll try my best to be positive to be back on the bike as soon as possible.”
Both of Honda’s factory riders will also go into the 2019 season recovering from injury.
Jorge Lorenzo will sit out the Sepang test after breaking his wrist in a training accident last month, while Marc Marquez recently said the shoulder on which he had surgery in December is still causing him issues after riding a practice bike for the first time ahead of pre-season testing.
A previous version of this story suggested Crutchlow is still unable to walk following his injuries. This was based on the incorrect assumption that his quotes were given to MotoGP.com more recently. We apologise for this error.