Marc Marquez has broken a finger in his left hand in a dirt track training crash. The reigning world champion fell heavily, suffering a displaced fracture of the proximal phalange in the little finger of his left hand. This means that the bone between the hand and the first knuckle was broken, and the two parts of the bone moved.
Marquez was taken immediately to the Dexeus Institute in Barcelona, where Dr Xavier Mir, who performs surgery on many of the top MotoGP and WSBK riders, operated on the Spaniard. The bone was put together again and then fixed with a titanium plate. Marquez is due to start functional recovery within 24 hours.
The press release issued by Honda is strangely hesitant about Marquez' prospects of racing at Jerez. The press release says, in rather unconventional wording, that Marquez participation at Jerez "has not been ruled out." The aim for Marquez will be to ride, but the injury sustained is a particularly difficult one. Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics describes fractures of the proximal phalange as "potentially the most disabling fractures in the hand". Full recovery for normal patients is 4 to 6 weeks. In motorcycle racer terms, that's 2 to 3 weeks.
The only positive from this injury is that it is on his left hand, in the little finger. It is the least used of the fingers, though Marquez' style is to grip the bars with the fingers on the grips, rather than with the little finger off the grip, as some others like to do. No doubt that Marquez will do all he can to try to race at Jerez, but it is far from certain he will do so. With Marquez already 30 points down to championship leader Valentino Rossi, Marquez cannot really afford another zero points in the championship, he needs all the points he can get. A decision on participation will only have to be made before FP4 on Saturday afternoon, giving Marquez another day to assess his condition.
Marquez' injury puts the Repsol Honda team in a difficult situation for Jerez. Dani Pedrosa is not yet confirmed as racing at the Andalusian circuit, and if Marquez is forced to miss the race as well, HRC would need to field two replacement riders. Though the most obvious choice for Honda would be test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, the controversy surrounding Casey Stoner's offer to race for Dani Pedrosa at Austin and Argentina will no doubt see his name be put forward once again.
With both riders likely to undergo medical checks on the Thursday, we may not know who is racing for the Repsol Honda team until Friday morning at the earliest, and Saturday afternoon at the latest.
Below is the press release on Marquez' crash and injury:
Marc Marquez undergoes successful operation on little finger fracture
Repsol Honda rider operated on this afternoon to treat fracture to little finger of left hand, suffered while training dirt track. His participation in the Spanish Grand Prix has not been ruled out.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez has been successfully operated on this afternoon by Dr. Xavier Mir, Head of the Unit for Hand and Upper Extremities Pathology at the Hospital Universitario Quiron Dexeus in Barcelona.
Dr. Mir commented after the surgery that Marquez had “attended the casualty department of the Hospital Universitario Quiron Dexeus having suffered a crash in training this morning. The patient presented a deformity to the little finger of his left hand and a subsequent X-Ray showed a fracture of the proximal phalanx, with displacement. Therefore, we decided to treat the injury -as we would in the case of any other patient- by fixing a titanium plate to his finger. This will allow us to initiate functional recovery after 24 hours and give him a chance of racing at Jerez.”