The accident occurred when Sylvain Guintoli missed his breaking point for the Corkscrew turn and slammed into Hofmann. Although Alex returned to MotoGP action later in the season, he was then fired for pulling out of last place at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Hofmann contested the dismissal and, although his request to be reinstated was turned down, it is believed he reached some form of settlement with Luis d'Antin's squad. With no MotoGP options for 2008, the Swiss-based German has signed on as an Aprilia test rider, developing the factory's new RSV-4, due to enter WSBK in 2009.

"These have been pretty hard times for a racer like me" said Hofmann after his surgery. "First I had to sit out and watch the start of the new MotoGP season in front of my TV and then head straight to Munich for surgery.

"Overall I am happier now that the final bad memories of my screwed up last season are now lying next to me on the table. The doc told me to take it easy on my hand for the next three weeks and I will go through the usual intensive physiotherapy.

"Still, it is amazing how much medicine has advanced these days and I sure my hand will be like new in a few weeks. I was a little worried that day in Laguna Seca sitting in the gravel at Corkscrew," he admitted.

Looking to the future, Hofmann confirmed that he expects to take a 'year out' of racing, but then intends to secure a WSBK or MotoGP seat for 2009 - with Aprilia's Superbike project surely the leading candidate.

"It looks like I won't be competing in any races this year, but my new job with Aprilia is an exciting new challenge for me," he said. "My bones have suffered a bit over the last years and I guess a year of testing will do them some good! I will use the given time to take care of myself and refill my batteries so I am ready to fight back as soon as possible.

"I want to be back world championship racing in 2009, whether in MotoGP or WSBK. My aim is to line up with a team that gives me the chance to perform out there and fight for the top spots, which I believe I am capable of," he declared. "I have learned my lessons and believe it best to wait for the right opportunity...!"

27-year-old Hofmann, also a former Kawasaki MotoGP rider, will resume testing for Aprilia in April.



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