Fabio Menghi has confirmed he won't be returning to action with VFT Racing in World Superbikes until at least after the Misano round in June.
The Italian suffered a fractured pelvis in a heavy crash during the final pre-season test at Phillip Island and has missed the start of the 2016 season with Matteo Baiocco filling in for the injured rider.
Initially after the accident, Menghi had targeted a comeback at this weekend's round five at Imola but after struggling with his muscular recovery the Italian has ruled out a comeback until after round eight at Misano in mid-June.
The World Superbike paddock heads to the United States for round nine at Laguna Seca in early July but if Menghi is unable to return there he will have to wait until after the summer break.
“They said it would be three months until I could walk again, but I managed to walk after a month and a half,” Menghi said. “The recovery is going well and it's much easier than I thought: the difficult bit is the muscular recovery.
“I have an important check up on the 10th of May and after that we'll know more when I can get back on track. It definitely won't be before Misano though. Right now I'm concentrating on recovering, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and gym work.”
Baiocco will continue to act as replacement rider at the VFT Racing squad until Misano when the team will assess Menghi's fitness before making a decision for Laguna Seca. Baiocco is no stranger to the WSBK paddock having competed for Althea Racing last year and finished ninth in the final riders' championship.
“I'm very happy to be back in WSBK,” Baiocco, who has claimed three points finishes in his six races with VFT Racing. “But I do want to achieve more. Together with the team, I'm trying to optimize what we have available.
“The 'feeling' isn't bad, but we're never at 100%. We have to be able to get the most out of the bike, because it's not as up-to-date as some others on the grid. It's competitive, but sometimes for various reasons we can't quite extract the maximum.
“I hope we manage that in the next Round, at home. I hope my knowledge of the track helps us to get on a more even level with some of our rivals. It would be great to get into the top ten on Friday, and then keep working and getting even better.”