It has been a busy week for the medical staff of motorcycle racers. In Switzerland, Interwetten rider Thom Luthi underwent a second operation to sort out the elbow and shoulder he damaged during testing at Valencia, while Nicky Hayden had minor surgery to clean up some old scar tissue from his injured wrist.
Luthi's operation was the most serious. After the operation to fix the elbow he shattered, which took place directly after the test in mid-February, Luthi once again returned to the hospital this week to have a few problems in his shoulder seen to. The surgery reattached three torn ligaments in his acromioclavicular joint, the point where the collarbone attaches to the shoulder blade, which were also damaged during his crash at Valencia.
The operation is serious enough to put Luthi out of contention for the first two races of the season. The team are confident that the Swiss rider will be able to make his return at the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on 5th of May, though whether he is at full fitness by then remains to be seen.
In the intervening period, Luthi's place will be taken the Spanish rider Sergio Gadea. Gadea was a strong performer in the 125cc class, winning three races in the smallest class, but the Spaniard never really made the transition to four-stroke racing. A podium in his first year of Moto2 in 2010 was not enough, and he moved back to 125s for the following season, and was having another decent season until a bad crash at Motegi ended his season. Gadea was unable to raise the funds to race in 2012, and now has a chance to make his case again in Moto2 at Qatar and Austin for the first two races of the season.
Nicky Hayden's surgery was a far more minor affair. The Kentucky Kid visited the Californian racing surgeon Dr Arthur Ting to have some scar tissue removed in his right hand from previous injuries. Hayden's right hand had a hard time in 2012, the Ducati rider fracturing it during his monster qualifying crash at Indianapolis, and then following it up with another crash at Aragon, where he was flung over the barriers at low speed in a freak accident at the Spanish track. Hayden's surgery should not require any significant recovery time, and the American is expected to be fit to take part in the final official IRTA test at Jerez, ahead of the start of the 2013 MotoGP season.