Jorge Lorenzo is not even halfway through his second MotoGP season and already the 22-year-old has built up a fearsome reputation for overcoming painful injuries, but Sunday's third place at Laguna Seca was arguably his best yet under such circumstances.
Lorenzo has finished on the podium while riding injured before, having claimed second in last year's French Grand Prix - 4.997sec behind Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi - just two weeks after fracturing both ankles in China.
However, his US GP performance was arguably even more impressive. Just a day after dislocating his right collarbone and fracturing a bone in his right foot in a huge qualifying highside, the double 2009 race winner fought his way back from eighth on lap one to challenge team-mate Valentino Rossi for second in the closing stages.
With five laps to go the 22-year-old saw his chance and tried to pass the world champion at the final corner, but he suffered a big slide in the process and ran wide, letting Rossi back through and dropping back over a second.
Had it not been for that mistake Lorenzo believes he could have won the race. Instead the Spaniard crossed the finish line 1.926 seconds behind race winner Dani Pedrosa and 1.582sec from Rossi.
“I always try to do my best and I think that is what I have done today, considering my physical condition,” said Lorenzo after his seventh podium in eight starts. “I am really proud and I think that this was one of my best races.
“My foot was okay but I had a lot of pain in my right shoulder, which meant I wasn't strong in my right hand and I had to over-compensate with my left; I am really tired now! I want to thank the Clinica Mobile because they made it possible for me to finish the race.
“After a while I started to forget about the pain a bit and I just wanted to do my best and I knew that it was possible to pass Valentino. Unfortunately I hit some bumps when I braked deep and my rear tyre moved a lot and I was lucky not to crash.
“Maybe without this mistake, if I had been able to pass him, it would have been possible to win but anyway third is good in the circumstances and we have taken good points. Now we have some time to recover; I am fit and strong so I hope that by Sachsenring I will be back to my best.”
With hindsight, Lorenzo's crew chief Ramon Forcada agreed it might have been better to wait for a clearer opportunity to overtake Rossi.
“Our rider did a very good job today in his poor physical condition. He showed that he never gives up even when things are tough and that his mind is very strong, which is very important for a rider,” he began. “At the end, when he caught Valentino, he made his attack very soon and maybe if he had waited a little bit things might have been different, but anyway third is a very good result in the circumstances and we have got some important championship points.”
Lorenzo is now nine points behind Rossi in the world championship standings.