Leandro Mercado has confirmed he will return to World Superbike Championship action at Jerez having been forced to miss the last three events through injury.

The Argentine collided with Alessandro Delbianco in race one at Motorland Aragon, the impact leaving him with a fractured scaphoid.

With surgery required to correct the injury, Mercado was forced to skip the following events at Assen and Imola, with ex-MotoGP rider Hector Barbera replacing him on the Orelac Racing Kawasaki ZX-10RR.

Though still getting back to absolute fitness, Mercado says he will be able to ride again at Jerez next week, where he is looking to get back to top ten form.

“My hand has improved a lot, and it has regained most of its strength during these weeks” he said. “We are still working on improving its mobility, but I am doing rehab in Imola every day, and there is still one week to go before the Spanish Round.

“I am confident that I will be even more ready for it. Of course, the exercises that we are doing now are different from the movements that I will have to do on the bike, but I did a small training on a bike some weeks ago, and the feeling was good”.

With Barbera filling in for two events, Mercado says he is interested to ride the bike knowing the Spaniard has made tweaks to it in his absence.

“It is always difficult to continue working on a bike when you have a different rider on it, but Barbera is very experienced and he was able to test different solutions during the two rounds that I missed.

“In the end, they only confirmed two small changes on the bike, which I am extremely curious to try! I feel well and ready, and I can’t wait to be back out on track and finally show our true potential.”

Despite being forced to give back his WorldSBK Kawasaki, Barbera will nonetheless be back on track in the British Superbike Championship for the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki team at Brands Hatch after an impressive debut for the team last weekend.