Loris Capirossi rode through the pain of a shoulder injury to reach the chequered flag in twelfth place, out of 13 finishers, on his MotoGP return in Sunday's US Grand Prix.
Having aborted an attempted comeback at the previous weekend's German GP, Capirossi gritted his teeth to reach the chequered flag for the first time since the Silverstone round in mid-June.
Capirossi, like last-placed Toni Elias, was lapped.
“This race was a gamble for me. In Germany I only rode for a few laps before the shoulder was really too bad. I made the decision to come here and for me the most important thing was to finish the race," said Capirossi.
"The result is bad, but I'm happy because I achieved the goal to finish the race. Now I will try to get back to full fitness in Brno, one of my favourite tracks, because there I really want to prove that we can fight for better positions.”
“Loris was very brave, until the shoulder gave up he was keeping a good pace," added Pramac Ducati technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini. "Then, once the pain was too strong, he completed the race without risking further damage to his physical condition. All this shows that he is on the right direction to recovery and we hope to see him in top form at Brno."
But while Capirossi made his return, team-mate Randy de Puniet missed the race after being injured in practice.
"We hope that the bad luck is finished because it would be impossible to go on like this," admitted Sterlacchini.
Capirossi and de Puniet are just 16th and 17th in the championship - and the last of the full time riders. Capirossi intends to make an announcement about his future after the summer break.