Swan Yamaha British Superbike rider Ian Hutchinson has undergone a successful operation in the latest phased of his protracted battle back to fitness.
Hutchinson, who was unveiled as reigning BSB champion Tommy Hill's team-mate in Shaun Muir's team this season, suffered a severely broken left leg during a crash in the penultimate round of the British Supersport series at Silverstone in 2010.
It was a devastating end to a record-breaking year for the Yorkshire rider, who made history at the Isle of Man TT races by becoming the first rider to win every solo race at the world famous event to earn his place in the TT hall of fame.
Such was the severity of his injury that doctors considered amputating Hutchinson's left leg, but through a series of specialist operations he regained use of the smashed limb and made his racing comeback at the Macau Grand Prix in November.
Against the odds, Hutchinson made it onto the rostrum in third place following an incredible ride in the Far East, proving he would be a force to be reckoned with in 2012.
He was rewarded with a full ride in BSB by team boss Muir alongside Hill and will also ride at the international road races, where his return at the TT in June will be one of the highlights of the event.
Writing on his official Twitter account on Monday, Hutchinson revealed he had undergone his 19th operation and was looking forward to reverting back to a traditional left-sided gear change.
“Been in for operation number 19 today to have the foot lift tendon released from scar tissue and I now have full foot lift! Left shift now in sight!”
Hutchinson is building towards the opening BSB round at Brands Hatch at Easter.
His first road race of 2012 will be the North West 200 in Northern Ireland on Saturday, May 19.