Nicky Hayden's third fastest lap time at last week's Sepang MotoGP test was an impressive achievement - especially since the Ducati Marlboro rider had undergone arm surgery just two weeks before (click on the picture to enlarge).

Barely off antibiotics before he took to the track for the second pre-season test of the year, the 2006 world champion was only eleventh on day one before improving by over 1.5sec on the second and final day.

Hayden required the surgery to remove scar tissue from a previous arm pump operation.

"I've had the arm pump surgery before and then it just started to come back this winter. I was doing a lot of riding and it [the arm pump] got worse and worse," Hayden told at Sepang, while holding an ice pack on the freshly-sealed cut.

"I knew it wasn't right and then when I got to the first test here it was really bad, so they had to go in and take it all out.

"It wasn't too convenient," he smiled. "I'm trying to do as little laps here as possible."

Hayden now has until March 18-19 to recover before the third and final pre-season test takes place, at Qatar.