Dani Pedrosa's luck is stubbornly refusing to improve. Doctors at Barcelona's Dexeus Institute declared yesterday's surgery a success, which was the good news. The bad news was that the recovery period is going to be at least four weeks, ruling Pedrosa out of the IRTA test at Jerez, and endangering the Repsol Honda rider's season start at Qatar in early April.
The problems are not so much from the fractured wrist. Dr Xavier Mir pinned the fracture using a titanium screw, and Pedrosa can expect to start moving the wrist again in ten days or so, although the wrist is likely to stay weak for some time to come. Pedrosa's knee, however, is another matter. Another specialist at the Dexeus Institute, Dr Bartolome Ferreira, used skin and fat from the inside of Pedrosa's thigh to cover the open wound the Spaniard's crash in Qatar had left him with. And because of the nature of the wound, it will be at least three weeks before Pedrosa can start to move the knee, and a minimum of four weeks before he can start to fully bend the knee.
Four weeks out of circulation means that Pedrosa is almost certain to miss the official IRTA test at Jerez, and with the season opener at Qatar just over five weeks away, even the very best case scenario would see the Spaniard recovered just enough to race. But even then, Pedrosa's season is likely to get off to a shakey start, requiring a race or two before he is back to anything like full strength.
With rumors persisting that Dani Pedrosa's contract with Repsol Honda is on the line, and only a title will be good enough to ensure a contract extension, Pedrosa's health must be a worry to him. In the years since the Spaniard moved up to the premier class, Pedrosa has shown that he is capable of matching - and sometimes beating - both Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner. But if he is to clinch the title, he needs to make another step forward, and start winning more than just a couple of races a year. That's a tall order at the best of times, but with a weakened wrist and a gammy knee, it's one huge mountain to climb.