Randy de Puniet has joined fellow MotoGP riders Cal Crutchlow (arm pump surgery) and Dani Pedrosa (collarbone surgery) in going under the knife during the lengthened break between rounds two and three of the 2011 world championship, caused by the postponement of the Japanese event.

The new Pramac Ducati rider has used the near month-long break to have a screw removed from his left knee, which was inserted into his broken leg after last year's race-stopping crash at the Sachsenring in Germany.

"I'm fine," said de Puniet, "although now that the local aesthetic has lost its effect I feel a bit of pain.

"One chapter closes, now without this screw I hope to improve my performance on track. In the forthcoming days I hope to reach my physical condition in view of the race at Estoril."

First practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril takes place on April 29.

de Puniet has crashed out of his first two races on a Ducati.

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