Dani Pedrosa believes he will be in much better physical shape for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix – but warned that once he is fit there will still be much work to do to improve the Honda.
The Spaniard missed most of winter testing after crashing at Losail in February, breaking his wrist and reopening an old surgery wound on his knee.
He was able to ride in Qatar a fortnight ago, but had a cautious run to 11th and was hampered further by a collision with Alex de Angelis. However with two further weeks of recovery time now behind him, Pedrosa is confident that he will be able to mount a stronger challenge at Motegi.
"My leg is improving all the time and the knee is gaining a little bit more mobility every day," he said.
"I don't have the full range of movement yet, but I think that by Motegi I'll have about ten degrees more of movement than in Qatar, which should make quite a big difference.
"My elbow is also getting better after the hit de Angelis gave me in Qatar – there's still some pain and stiffness but I hope it won't be a problem in Japan."
Honda has struggled to match Ducati and Yamaha so far this year, and Pedrosa admitted that his absence from much of testing had hurt the team's efforts to close the gap.
"My priority is still to reach full fitness so that I can ride at 100 percent, and then we must focus on the machine, because I missed out on quite a lot of winter testing and we're still not at the level we'd like to be," he said.
"It's a case of taking things one step at time – first to get full fitness and then improve the bike step by step."