MotoGP ace Casey Stoner is desperately hoping rest and specialised treatment will help his injured right ankle recover in time for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
Two-time MotoGP champion Stoner admits his ankle "isn't feeling very good'' following a tough physical examination in his comeback race in Japan last weekend.
The Japanese GP was Stoner's first race in eight weeks after he was forced to have surgery for severely-torn ligaments and ankle fractures. He finished fifth.
Stoner suffered arm pump in his Japan comeback after a long layoff from racing his factory Honda.
The 27-year-old confirmed he always planned to return in Japan but that he was disappointed with the healing progress and cautious about his level of fitness.
"My Honda is more competitive than me at the moment. And yes, the ankle felt worse after three days' ridding,'' Stoner said after last Sunday's race in Japan.
"I've been icing it and I'll ice it again and try to rest it as much as possible to be as good as I can for Malaysia which is going to be a hot weekend.''
The Malaysian GP is the second of a triple-header that includes next week's Australia GP at Phillip Island which is Stoner's farewell home race before retirement.
Stoner will have had just five days' recovery before being back on track for opening practice on Friday at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. He just hopes it is enough.
He says three races in 14 days is a massive challenge in his condition as he prepares for retirement after the Valencia GP in November.
"Physically, Japan and Malaysia have always hit me pretty hard so it's not the way to come back after a long break so three races back-to-back is going to be very tough,'' Stoner said.