American Ben Spies hopes his shoulder, surgically repaired after a crash last October at Sepang, will be "80 percent" healthy when he returns to the seat of a Grand Prix motorcycle next month for the first time since the accident.
Spies' tenure at Yamaha ended abruptly when he crashed during heavy rain at Sepang, suffering a separated shoulder, broken rib and bruised lungs. He will return to the Malaysian track Feb. 5-7 for his first test with Pramac Ducati, the factory's unofficial "junior" team.
The surgery, which involved a tissue graft from a cadaver, required a longer recovery period than Spies imagined.
"I didn't think it would take so long and be so arduous," Spies said to German media. "We had to put up with it and still find a way during training that caused me no pain.
"Now I can say the injury has healed. But it lacks muscle and strength. The resistance in the right shoulder is currently low. I'd say she's been at 60 or 70 percent of capacity. Until the Malaysia test, I would like to have it at 80 percent. Then I should be able to do everything that is required of me there."
But Spies said he doesn't expect to be strong enough at Sepang to show his true performance or the potential of the GP13.
"I will not reel off qualifying laps and no race simulation," Spies said. "But I'll be fast enough to perform meaningful testing.
"Perhaps this situation is even helpful. I know that I will not be 100 percent fit. So can I take it easy. I can find out alone about the machine and study everything in detail."