After Dani Pedrosa got off his bike in Parc Ferme at the end of the MotoGP season opener at Qatar, it was obvious there was something wrong. The Spaniard was in intense pain, and could barely stand, though he recovered his composure quickly as the evening progressed.
At the post-race press conference, Pedrosa explained he had had a recurrence of the problems which he had suffered after his crash at Motegi in which he fractured a collarbone. As the race progressed, the Repsol Honda rider's left arm became numb and lost strength, making it ever more difficult to ride the bike, and forcing Pedrosa to cede first the lead to Casey Stoner and then 2nd place to Jorge Lorenzo.
Both Pedrosa and the team were very worried by the recurrence of the problem. They had not had any problems with the injury during preseason testing, with Pedrosa reporting just a single twinge in his left arm at the Sepang test, so for the injury to flare up again was cause for concern. Medical experts suggested the symptoms were reminiscent of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a condition in which the nerves in the brachial plexus become compressed as a result of injury.
Fortunately for Pedrosa, the problem is less severe than the team had feared. According to a press release issued by the team today (see below), the problem is down to a small stretch in the plexus, a common injury among motorcycle riders who have suffered crash trauma. The press release is not specific about the exact nature of the stretch, or of the recovery time, saying only that the injury requires more time to recover completely. That suggests that the problem is indeed the least severe type of plexus injury, which offers the best prognosis for Pedrosa's future recovery. The Spaniard will race at Jerez in 10 days' time, after which the cancellation of the Japanese Grand Prix will give Pedrosa a four-week break in which to recover before the next round of MotoGP at Estoril.
The text of the press release on Pedrosa's shoulder is reproduced below:
Medical checks confirm Pedrosa's shoulder is still not 100% fit, but doctors rule out any complication
Dani Pedrosa underwent further medical checks after returning from Doha to seek an answer to the discomfort that returned to his left arm during the Grand Prix of Qatar last weekend. The Repsol Honda Team rider, who despite the pain managed to take a third place finish at Losail, suffered from numbness and lack of strengh in his left arm during the race and suspected that the injury he suffered in Japan last October had not completely disappeared, which prompted him to re-visit specialists.
Dani passed several tests, consisting in a three-dimensional CAT scan with contrast and MRI. The results showed that there is no vascular or nerve compression in the canal of the collarbone, but there is a small stretch in the plexus, which is gradually improving but will need more time to finish healing completely.
"I honestly didn't expect my arm would react in this way because during pre-season I didn't feel too much trouble and I thought the problem was solved. However, I felt really bad in the Qatar race and was aware that the injury is not completely healed. It was a shame because in Qatar I had a good feeling and until the second half of the race - which is when the pain started - I was really strong and I saw a realistic chance of winning. I would be lying if I said I'm not disappointed because this year the bike is working very well and physically I feel good, but unfortunately this complication has arisen and I have nothing else to do but give my best until the injury heals completely".