Dani Pedrosa is to return to racing at the Le Mans round of MotoGP. His return brings to an end an extended absence following surgery to cure a persistent arm pump problem. Pedrosa missed three rounds in total, skipping Austin and Argentina, then making a last-minute decision to withdraw from the Jerez round.
That decision was regarded with some suspicion. Jerez is a track where Pedrosa has performed very strongly in the past, and missing a home GP is a major wrench of any MotoGP rider.
However, after testing his forearm by riding a supermoto bike, Pedrosa was concerned that his arms were not recovering as hoped. Now, with two weeks more rest, Pedrosa believes his arms will be strong enough to withstand the stresses of racing a MotoGP bike.
There is a small irony in Pedrosa returning to action at Le Mans. The French circuit marked the beginning of one of the Spaniard’s darkest periods in racing. Pedrosa fractured his right collarbone when he was knocked off his Repsol Honda by a hard-charging Marco Simoncelli.
The subsequent surgery to plate the collarbone left Pedrosa suffering Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which caused numbness and weakness in his right hand, and made it very difficult for him to race.
That problem was only solved by new surgery, which involved removing the screws from his plated collarbone, one of which was believed to be creating the TOS issue by temporarily blocking an artery when Pedrosa was held in a racing crouch.
Before the issue was resolved, Pedrosa was giving serious consideration to retiring permanently from racing. The whole episode has left Pedrosa with a deep-seated aversion to surgery. It has also left him determined only to return to racing when he can do so at full fitness, and not before.
Pedrosa’s return will bring to an end an uncomfortable period for HRC. Honda bosses had faced a barrage of questioning over both Pedrosa’s extended absence and their decision to field Hiroshi Aoyama as Pedrosa’s replacement, despite an offer to ride from Casey Stoner.
Livio Suppo and Shuhei Nakamoto did their best to quash the gossip in a fractious press conference at Jerez, but question marks remained. The Repsol Honda team will now hope to turn its attention to racing.
Photo: © 2015 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.