Reigning MotoGP™ world champion Marc Marquez revealed he felt worse than expected on his return to action at pre-season testing in Sepang.
The 26-year-old had surgery on his right shoulder in November, having suffered a partial dislocation when falling awkwardly during a testing session in Jerez.
Marquez underwent a similar procedure the previous year on the other shoulder and is pleased to be in less pain this time around at the same stage of the recovery process.
The Repsol Honda rider exceeded his target of completing 30-35 laps on Friday - managing 37 - but finished up 12th, 0.731 seconds back of pacesetter Fabio Quartararo.
Marquez admitted while there were positives to take out of his work, with the shoulder "stable" throughout, he had hoped to be in a better position with the first race of the 2020 season only a month away.
"It's important to be back on the bike – I'm happy," the Spaniard told BT Sport. "But I felt worse than I expected on the bike. Anyway, I kept working, kept pushing step by step.
"I tried to find a rhythm, try different things. It will be a good test for me to improve and make my rehabilitation on the bike.
"The plan was more or less similar. The first [day] between 30-35 laps, the second arrive at 45 laps, then the last day… try to survive!
"We are on plan, it is already what we expected, but I expected to be struggling in some points and I was struggling more than I expected in the beginning.
"The important thing is that from the beginning to the end, the shoulder was more or less stable, and now in the afternoon I don't have more pain.
"Last year I had more pain in the afternoon, so this year it’s okay. I don’t have the power, but it's step by step."