The recovery partition is known an an EISA
Partition or an OEM Diagnostic Tools
These partitions are basically a Linux EXT or EXT2 partition
Partition always needs to be the first partition on your drive while the Operating System partition needs to be the second before you install you're OS.
So it would look like this:
Drive 0 Partition 0 Recovery
Drive 0 Partition 1 Operating System
Also, you are allowed to have up to 4 Logical Partitions on a drive.
Do a Google search for OEM Diagnostic Tools Partition
will bring plenty of results on this subject.
A tool I use to access EISA partitions is Ext2 IFS for Windows
which allows you to set a drive letter for Lix partitions or to remove a set drive letter to keep said partition hidden. To install this tool, you have to right click on the installer, select properties, then the Compatibility tab and set it to run in Vista Compatibility Mode and it'll install with no problem.