Pedrosa Collarbone Update: Surgery Successful, Assen Still In Doubt

The news this morning that Dani Pedrosa was to undergo an operation to fix a loose fragment of bone in his collarbone came as a confirmation that there were further problems with the collarbone Pedrosa had had fixed after his crash with Marco Simoncelli at Le Mans. What caused the problem is unknown (despite the rumors in the Spanish and Italian press) but it required yet another operation, his third in 71 days on his collarbone.

This evening, the Repsol Honda team issued a press release (reproduced below), stating that the operation had been a success, and that Pedrosa would be starting his physical rehabiliation in two days' time. With action starting at the Dutch TT in Assen in just a week's time, that is very short notice for Pedrosa to be fit enough to ride again, and consequently, Pedrosa will make a decision in consultation with his doctors on riding early next week. If Pedrosa does not ride in Assen, the Repsol Honda team will be forced to replace him, Pedrosa having missed the previous two rounds at Barcelona and Silverstone. Hiroshi Aoyama is likely to replace the Spaniard, with Honda test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi coming in to take Aoyama's seat in the San Carlo Gresini Honda squad.

The press release does hold a clue to Pedrosa's mindset after his consistent collarbone problems, however. The operation was performed by Dr Mir, the top surgeon at the Institut Dexeus at Barcelona, and the current favorite among most of the Spanish medical staff. However, also present in the operation was Dr Cesar Garcia Madrid, a vascular specialist from the Teknon Medical Center, who helped diagnose the cause of the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome as a partially blocked subclavian artery (the main artery feeding blood to the arm) caused when holding the arm in the specific position used when racing a motorcycle. Once the plate - inserted by one of the surgeons working under Dr Mir after Motegi - had been removed from his left clavicle, Pedrosa's symptoms (numbness, lack of strength and feeling, and pain) disappeared completely.

Speaking to Pedrosa at Estoril, the sense of relief was palpable. Pedrosa had feared his racing career was over, that the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome was permanent and would prevent him from racing altogether. Coming back at Estoril, and then winning the race, relieved him of the mental pressure of worrying about his ability to race that he had suffered ever since returning to race at Phillip Island last year. To break his collarbone again at Le Mans, the very next race, once again put a good deal of pressure on the Spaniard, pressure which he had only just rid himself of. The dithering which Pedrosa did after Le Mans - taking until the Wednesday after Le Mans to decide to have his broken collarbone plated, followed by using a plate with much shorter screws than normal to fix in place, making it weaker than an ordinary construction - was a further sign of Pedrosa's worries regarding the operation. To have Dr Mir himself perform the corrective surgery, accompanied by a vascular specialist to ensure that the TOS does not rear its ugly head again is a clear sign of Pedrosa's concerns. Dani Pedrosa really wants to race again, but he doesn't want to go through the hell which was the last 8 months since Motegi again. Spanish newspaper El Pais has an excellent (Spanish) reconstruction of the chain of events leading up to Pedrosa's latest surgery.

Below is the official press release from Repsol Honda:

Dani Pedrosa has successful operation

The Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa underwent further surgery this evening to his broken right collarbone caused in the accident in Grand Prix of France. The operation was conducted at the USP Institut Universitari Dexeus by Dr. Xavier Mir, Chief of the Pathology Unit of the Hand of Dexeus USP, and Dr. Cesar Garcia Madrid, vascular specialist of the Institute Planell at Teknon Medical Center. The aim of the operation was to fix, by compression osteosynthesis, a small fragment of bone that had dislodged during the rehabilitation process. This technique allows a faster consolidation, minimizing the resting time.

After the surgery, Dr. Javier Mir reported, "We believe the surgery was successful as we were able to fix the fragment of bone of his collarbone in a very stable way and because of this we are confident that in 48 hours it will be possible to begin rehabilitation of his right shoulder".

After this period of rest, Dani Pedrosa will discuss with his medical team about his presence in the Dutch Grand Prix next week.

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...if it's possible to beef up DP's collarbones, maybe HRC can come up with some carbon fiber reinforcement bits? What a heart brake, I really thought he had a chance of getting his WC.

It really does show in the racing that losing an alien no matter who it is (Rossi or not) still has a huge affect on the quality of the racing amongst the top 5.

It's heartbreaking to see Pedrosa struggle so much to get healed, now even more so after Colin Edwards rode to the podium a week after breaking his collarbone. It does seem to me that it would be a good idea for Pedrosa to start a serious work-out programme at the gym, because he definately needs to become stronger. You can't put your hopes on never falling off during a season.

Apparently he does 800 sit-ups every morning and god knows what else. I have absolutely no reason to doubt his physical and mental dedication to this sport. David has said he is 'buff' - I struggle with that word but understand it to mean a healthy looking muscular specimen. The man is merely unlucky. Broken bones can happen to any of them at any time. Even the choosen one broke (pun intended) his duck last year for goodness sake.

I agree it is also a matter of being lucky when you do crash. As you say, everybody can have a bad landing and break something. I was just under the impression that he is not just small, but also a bit skinny. Apparently I'm wrong there, so there goes a possibility I thought he had to defend himself against more injuries.

I'd have to see it to believe it. Lorenzo you can see is a muscular guy, he's not tall but he's stocky (thick). Pedrosa just seems to be very trim, not much body-fat but then not much thick-muscle, either. A thin, zero-body-fat person can do situps/pull-ups all day and take advantage of their light-weight to do those, but it doesn't mean they're going to do well in a fight against someone with more muscle/weight (ie the pavement). What I'd really like to know how is not even how many press-ups (pushups) pedrosa can do, because once again he's only lifting his own small body-weight, but how much weight he can lift in the gym.

If Pedrosa's metabolism could let him bulk up with body-mass/muscle, especially around the shoulders, then I think that would help considerably in helping his body protect itself in the event of crashes. I haven't seen where David called Pedrosa buff, and because he doesn't go around shirtless like RdP last year, I can't say for sure if he's got good muscle coverings. If I had to guess right now, I'd say he's lean & "cut" (ie whatever muscles he has definitely show because there's no fat to cover them like I have lol) but not Buff (like arnold schwarzenegger in his prime, or even RdP. And all of what I've said is with due respect for Pedrosa, he's fast for sure, but put a stringy roadrunner bird in the ring with a heavy fighting-cock and it's gonna lose.

Pedrosa, though clearly quite short, is stocky for a motorcycle racer and muscular across the shoulders. I think his problem is more a matter of bone density than anything else, and to a large extent, that is genetically determined.