Valentino Rossi said that his podium finish at the United States Grand Prix "felt like a win" after the Yamaha man rode through the pain barrier at Laguna Seca.
The seven-time MotoGP World Champion was racing for only the second time after breaking a leg in practice for his home grand prix, but still managed to overtake Andrea Dovizioso's Honda with six laps left to seal the final podium spot.
"The pain is very bad," Rossi said. "I am painful everywhere and I definitely need time to recover some more.
"This track is such a difficult one on the body – one of the most difficult ones in the championship. My left side – I had to push using my left because I have no force on my right – is finished."
The Italian paid tribute to the Yamaha team and to his doctors for getting him back on a bike just six weeks after sustaining his injuries.
"It's a great result for me and so important for me to be on the podium in such a short time [after returning to racing]," he added. "And I have to say thank you to the team and everyone that has helped me be here.
"After the Sachsenring, we said that we wanted a podium at Laguna, but I struggled a lot in practice here and in the race. Dovizioso was definitely faster than me, but step-by-step I could come back to him and overtook him."
Rossi's result moved him ahead of Ducati rider Nicky Hayden and into fifth place in the World Championship, albeit 120 points behind his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who leads the way.