Ben Spies was back in the MotoGP paddock at Laguna Seca on Saturday, where the Pramac Ducati rider gave an update on his recovery.
Spies has only raced twice this season due to shoulder injuries originally sustained at last October's Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Texan is targeting a return to action next time out at Indianapolis, in mid-August.
“Now is the first time in a long time that I'm really happy because my fitness is coming along well,” began Spies. “At the beginning of the season, we came back too soon, and I had another injury at Austin because I wasn't strong enough to ride. Sometimes injuries make more injuries.
“Ducati and I and the Italian doctor and my American doctor made the best decision to come back in the right way and not push things. I wish this race were about two weeks later so that we could be here, but I saw the doctor two days ago and everything is right on schedule, so I look forward to coming back at Indy and being 100%. We've missed a lot of the season, but I'm looking forward to basically starting my season at Indy and getting back to where we need to be.
“Now, I have confidence in myself in terms of fitness, but of course I know I won't be back up to speed in one session because I haven't ridden the bike lately. I know there have been a lot of rumours, but I know that this break that we took to get me back to 100% was the smartest thing to do. Now I can go to Indy and know that I'm where I need to be with my health, and all I need to do is work on getting back up to speed. It's the first time in eight months that I've had that feeling.
“I've been doing rehab three to four days a week at the best rehab place in Dallas and one of the best in the U.S. They look at me from day to day and see what I need to work on. When they see that something needs to be stronger, they change the program. People don't see me at the races, but I've been working my butt off at home to get back to where I need to be. It's taken a lot longer than I or anybody wanted it to, but there's nothing we can do about that.”
The former World Superbike champion, also a MotoGP race winner with Yamaha, has a two-year contract with Ducati.