The recurrence of arm numbness and weakness which Dani Pedrosa suffered at the MotoGP season opener at Qatar was cause for much concern in the Repsol Honda camp. The problem came about after Pedrosa broke his collarbone at Motegi, when the throttle stuck open on his RC212V during practice. After the injury, Pedrosa was flown home to Spain, where he had a titanium plate fitted to fix the collarbone.
When Pedrosa returned to racing at Estoril, the injury continued to cause the Spaniard problems, with his arm growing numb and losing strength as the races progressed. Pedrosa had hoped that the rest over the winter had solved that problem, but it made a worrying reappearance during the race in Qatar.
After multiple examinations by surgical experts, the cause of that numbness has seemingly been diagnosed. Stretching of Pedrosa's brachial plexus had already been spotted directly after Qatar, but further tests have also found a second problem, of the subclavian artery - the artery which provides all of the blood to Pedrosa's left arm - which is being closed off by the titanium plate and screws inserted to fix the collarbone. The problem occurs occasionally when broken collarbones are plated, as the injured collarbone and the plate and screws can interfere with either or both the brachial plexus - the bundle of nerves controlling the arm - and the subclavian artery.
The removal of the plate and screws should solve the intermittent compression of the artery, but it will leave the collarbone still weak from the removal. Fortunately, Pedrosa has four weeks between Jerez and the next Grand Prix at Estoril in which to recover, with four to six weeks usually being required for a full recovery of the plate being removed.
Below is the press release from Repsol Honda announcing the surgery.
Dani Pedrosa to undergo surgery after Jerez
After several medical tests by Dr. Eusebio Sala Planell, a specialist in vascular surgery, Dani Pedrosa has been diagnosed with intermittent compression of the subclavian artery, causing numbness and lack of strength in his left arm. Pedrosa, who underwent surgery last October to set a double fracture of his left collarbone after a crash in the Grand Prix of Japan, will undergo a new operation following his participation in the Grand Prix of Spain this weekend and will make the most of a month of relaxation offered by the calendar as a result of the postponement of the Grand Prix of Japan.
In the operation, the titanium plate and screws will be taken out of the collarbone in order to release the compression pressure. The Spanish rider will start rehabilitation immediately after and resume activity in Estoril for the Grand Prix of Portugal on May 1st.
"It's never nice to have an operation, but we've had a lot of time searching for an answer to the effects of this injury and I'm relaxed because I finally know what has happened. Now, we are in Jerez and I want to concentrate on the race, working with my team in best possible way to prepare the Grand Prix. This race is special, the crowd is always there to give you an extra point and I hope it helps me, as always. I like the track, I've had always good results here and I face the weekend with an open mind, trying to do my best in my current condition".