Ducati's Cal Crutchlow isn't setting his expectations too high as the British rider makes his return from injury at the Jerez MotoGP.

Crutchlow, who injured his hand in Austin, missed the Argentina round and admitted he found the going tough as he qualified in 14th place for Sunday's race in Spain.

"It's been a difficult day and a difficult day for the Ducatis. Dovi did great in qualifying and you can't take anything away from him for being on the second row with what I feel is a difficult package in these conditions," said Crutchlow.

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"As for me, remembering what I had here last year with a 1m 38.9 - I'm about one second off and that's about right for where we are at the minute. My hand is still sore but I don't think it's been too bad although it'll be tougher over race distance.

"Physically on the bike I don't feel too bad but my style on the bike is a little strange because I'm a bit hesitant in a few places with my hand, but otherwise we need to improve the grip with the bike and take advantage of my strong area in corner speed; we can only do that if we have grip.

"[Andrea] Iannone feels the same as me with the bike and when we have grip we have not done so bad and there's a massive improvement from yesterday, so I'm pleased with that," he added.

"The way I have to look at it is that I've had a few weeks off the bike so I'm rusty still and a bit cautious."

Crutchlow expects the race to reflect a different picture compared to qualifying, even though he feels he is now at the limit of the Desmosedici.

"We need to improve in different areas and I think it will come but for my second day back on the bike after one of the biggest crashes of my career I don't think it's too bad," said Crutchlow.

"I feel the race will be totally different for us than what the lap time is. I hope to get away with a group of guys and try and be smooth; I won't take any injections because if I have to that then I feel I shouldn't be riding. I have enough power to stop the bike it's just our setting is not stopping the bike at the minute but we need to improve.

"I think we're at the limit of what I want from the bike and we'll have to look at where we can improve.

"It's a close track when you look how close the times are apart from Marc [Marquez] and Jorge [Lorenzo], Dani [Pedrosa] and Valentino [Rossi]. The times between the rest of us are quite close with maybe a few tenths here and there."