(CNN) -- Italian superstar Valentino Rossi has made a remarkable return to the MotoGP circuit, just 41 days after breaking his leg.
The reigning world champion recorded the seventh fastest time in practice for Sunday's German Grand Prix at Sachsenring behind pace setter Dani Pedrosa of Spain.
Rossi's Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who has opened up a big lead in the title race in his absence, was second fastest ahead of Saturday's qualifying which will decide the grid positions.
The 31-year-old Rossi suffered a nasty fracture of his right tibia in a crash at Mugello in Italy and was expected to be ruled out for the rest of the season.
But after missing four rounds, he has returned following test sessions at Misano and Brno to gauge his fitness.
"I feel good and this track is helping me because a lot of it turns to the left," Rossi told the official MotoGP website.
"I am feeling quite confident on the bike and also my shoulder is good and not giving me problems. Now I have some pain in the leg and ankle but it's not too bad."
During his absence, Rossi has slipped to seventh in the title standings, 104 points behind Lorenzo and 52 adrift of second-placed Pedrosa.
The nine-time world champion is hoping his leg will allow him to take part in qualifying and the race proper.
"Now we will have to wait until Saturday morning to see how the leg is and whether it has swelled overnight or developed any problems."
His old rival Casey Stoner of Australia was not surprised to see Rossi back in action.
"When I heard he was testing at Misano I thought it was really fast, but at the same time I've heard of people getting their collarbone plated and riding within a week, so there was always a possibility of him coming back here," he said.