The reigning Moto2 champion required surgery after a motocross training incident just two weeks before the start of pre-season testing at Sepang in January.

Although Gardner hasn't missed any MotoGP track action since, and went on to become the only rookie to score in the Qatar season opener, the wrist remains sore.

Speaking during last weekend's Argentine round, Gardner said: "It's still a bit sore. It's going to be a while before it's perfect, that's for sure. But it's better than in Qatar.

"I'd expect six months to be honest... Until you can really give it a month with no strenuous use it doesn't really get better. I've actually had it with my other wrist as well back in my Moto3 days. I did half a year with a sore wrist.

"Anyway, it is what it is, I can't cry too much. It's not horrible, but it's not great. It's not the reason we're going slow, let's put it that way!"

After a 17th place in Termas, Gardner's wrist will now have just four days of rest before he is back on track in Austin this weekend.

“Last year I was quite fast on a Moto2 bike [at Austin], so we will see what I can do with a MotoGP engine," Gardner said.

"There has been some resurfacing work done in some corners since we came in October, so I am curious to see the results of the re-asphalt.

"Apart from this, I think that we have to find a bit more of a direction with the bike this weekend and hopefully make the step we want.”

A ninth place for Marco Bezzecchi in Argentina means he now leads the rookie of the year contest with seven points.

RNF Yamaha's Darryn Binder is one behind courtesy of a tenth place in the wet Indonesian round, with Gardner's team-mate Raul Fernandez and Gresini's Fabio di Giannantonio yet to score.

“I am really motivated to be here in Austin, Texas. We had a good race in Argentina, the whole team did a great job, and I am feeling better day by day on the bike," said Fernandez, who finished 2.4s behind Alex Marquez and the final world championship point in Termas.

"I think that this track will be interesting for us, so let’s see what we can do this weekend!”