Alex Rins has had two titanium plates fitted to fix the left wrist he broke in practice in Austin. The Suzuki rider will be out for the next six to eight weeks, meaning he will miss at least Jerez, and most likely Le Mans and Mugello as well. Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda, who was scheduled to be in Jerez for the official test on the Monday after the race, will replace Rins for the Spanish test, and most probably for the remaining races.
Rins crashed on Saturday morning in Austin, breaking his ulna and radius, the two bones in his forearm. It was a serious injury, both bones being fully broken and displaced. The young Spaniard had preliminary treatment in Austin, the bones being put back in place, but surgery was only possible on Thursday, once the inflammation of the injury had subsided. At the Dexeus Institute in Barcelona, Rins had two titanium plates fitted to fix the bones in place.
It was not the only damage Rins sustained in the crash. In Barcelona, doctors also diagnosed damage to the ulnar nerve. This nerve runs from the elbow down to the hand, and helps operate the pinky and ring finger. Rins is due to be reassessed in two weeks' time, but even if the damage does prove permanent, it should not restrict his riding. Ulnar nerve damage tends to cause pain and tingling in the two fingers, and may cause some weakness. But as it is in the left hand, the clutch hand, Rins should be able to strengthen his other fingers enough to compensate.
Rins is set to miss the Spanish round at Jerez in nine days' time, and probably more. Doctors believe he will be out for between six and eight weeks, meaning that Rins would miss at least Jerez and Le Mans, and possibly Mugello as well. Rins should be fit in time for his home Grand Prix in Barcelona, on June 11th. Rins will be replaced at Jerez by test rider Tsuda, who was scheduled to be present in Jerez anyway, as he will be taking part in the one-day test to be held on the Monday after the race.
Below is the press release with full details of Rins' surgery:
RINS’ FRACTURED WRIST IS SUCCESSFULLY OPERATED ON
Team Suzuki Press Office – April 27.
Alex´s fractures were fixed with two titanium plates
The rider will start rehabilitation within 10 days
Suzuki test rider Tsuda will be his replacement in Jerez race and test
Alex Rins was successfully operated on this morning at the University Hospital Dexeus in Barcelona where they repaired both the ulna and radius displacement and dislocation fractures in the left forearm that he suffered as a result of a serious accident that occurred last Saturday in the FP3 of the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
The 21-year-old Catalan, who was treated by Dr. Austin Hill, orthopedic traumatologist at the University Medical Center Brackenridge, on the same Saturday of the fall to stabilize the fractures, returned to Barcelona on Monday. However, it was not until today when he was able to undergo surgery due to the inflammation that was still more than visible in the left arm.
A few hours ago Rins underwent an operation by Dr. Xavier Mir, Head of the Hand Unit and Coordinator of the MotoGP Traumatology Service, through which the broken bones in the forearm and the wrist were fixed in place by two titanium plates. As a result of the crash, the rider suffered an injury to the ulnar nerve as revealed by Evoked Potentials (neurologic test). This issue will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks with an electromyography test.
The rider will undergo his first treatments next week at the same hospital in Barcelona, while the active rehabilitation will start after a period of 10 days. Doctors will try to accelerate, as much as possible, the recovery process of the rider. The timeline for the rider’s return to the track are not yet clear, but doctors estimate between six to eight weeks.
In related news, the test rider of the Hamamatsu brand, Takuya Tsuda (Wakayama, Japan), 31 y.o., will now take over Rins´ role starting from the Spanish GP. He will be participating at the Jerez circuit for the next Spanish Grand Prix (May 7th), both to compete in the race and to complete the IRTA test scheduled for Monday, May 8th. He will have the chance to officially compete in his first grand prix in the highest category of motorcycling.
Tsuda, who has previously competed in the All Japan Championship and has participated numerous times in the Suzuka 8 Hours race, is the usual test rider for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR. Tsuda has already participated with Andrea Iannone in the winter´s test that Suzuki had at the Jerez circuit last December.
Dr. Xavier Mir - Head of the Hand Unit and Coordinator of the MotoGP Traumatology Service
“Alex Rins has been operated on for displaced and dislocated left ulna and radius fracture, performing an open reduction and internal fixation with two locked titanium plates. Furthermore, yesterday he underwent a neurological test (evoked potentials) that confirmed an ulnar nerve injury by contusion. Within ten days he will begin the functional recovery of the wrist and forearm. An electromyography will also be performed to evaluate the recovery time of the ulnar nerve”.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“We are very happy that Alex surgery went well. This is the most important thing. Starting now he is facing a recovery period, but we are awaiting his comeback to 100% and we will be eager to have him back on our GSX-RR so he can display all the talent he has inside. Meanwhile, unfortunately, we have to replace him. And for Jerez we decided to give his bike to Takuya Tsuda, our test rider who will have his first opportunity to get real race experience. We will try to use the occasion to further the development of the bike.
I would like to wish a fast and good recovery to Alex. We will be waiting for him and until then, we will try to prepare him the best bike possible for when he returns.”
“The surgery went very well according to what Dr. Mir told me. I would like to thank him personally for all his care and attention since the fall in Austin last Saturday, him and all his team for care they have given me these days in hospital. The messages I have received through social media have really encouraged me, especially the kindness that has been shown by every member of Team Suzuki. This fills me with the energy and desire to immediately begin my recovery and return to competition as soon as possible.”