Sete Gibernau will join John Hopkins in having metalwork inserted to help heal past injuries removed within the next week.

Gibernau, making his MotoGP return in 2009 after two seasons in retirement, will have a plate in his collarbone taken out. The plate was inserted after Gibernau's huge turn one accident at Catalunya in 2006.

"On Monday, December 1st I'm going to have the plate in my collarbone taken out," the official MotoGP website quotes Gibernau as saying. "The doctors believe that it is better to have it out before I begin racing again. From then I'll start working again. The day after I will start training once more."

The Spaniard, who has joined the new Onde 2000 Ducati team, finished his final test of 2008 a low-key ninth out of the 14 riders present at Jerez - but gained a massive two seconds between day one and day two, an amount bettered only by rookie Mika Kallio.

Gibernau's best lap was 1.4sec from his former title rival Valentino Rossi, but less than half a second behind the fastest Desmosedici lap, set by new factory rider Nicky Hayden.

"I've had confirmation of just how difficult riding a MotoGP bike is, with all the things that before came naturally to me having to be worked hard at," declared the former double world championship runner-up. "It's very demanding, and once again I'll say that I have a lot of respect for all the riders and it's going to be a difficult year. But I knew this from the beginning, and it's motivation."

Despite the cautious words, many believe Gibernau will be competitive next season - and that his experience will be vital in guiding development of the Desmosedici.