Dani Pedrosa To Have Surgery For Arm Pump, Hiroshi Aoyama To Race At Austin And Argentina

Dani Pedrosa is to undergo surgery on his right forearm to treat the arm pump that has plagued him for the past year. The Spaniard is to be treated in Spain, by Dr Angel Villamor, who has treated many other racers for the same problem. Surgery is scheduled to take place on Friday morning, with a recovery period of four to six weeks afterwards, meaning that Pedrosa is certain to miss both the Austin and Argentina rounds of MotoGP. Hiroshi Aoyama will replace Pedrosa for the two upcoming rounds.

News of the surgery comes after Pedrosa's shock announcement that he was temporarily leaving racing to seek urgent treatment for arm pump. The Spaniard had been struggling with the condition for over year, after surgery carried out by Dr Mir in May last year failed to provide a solution. In that operation, Dr Mir opened up the fascia, the membrane enclosing the muscles, using microsurgery, to reduce the surgical impact and limit the chance of complications. Dr Villamor has more experience of treating arm pump, having successfully operated on riders such as Julian Simon, Nicky Hayden and Toni Elias. Simon explained to the Spanish newspaper AS.com that the procedure which had been successful for him involved not just opening up the fascia, but also removing it. This procedure, known as a partial fasciectomy, has had success in other sports, such as running and motocross.

The HRC press release makes clear that the operation Pedrosa has elected to follow is much more invasive than his previous operation. Special attention will be paid to the healing of the surgical wound, the press release says. This means that Pedrosa could be out for longer than just four weeks, only returning once surgery has been assessed as a success by the doctors. 

In his absence, Hiroshi Aoyama will take his place. Aoyama is an official HRC test rider, and rode at the first MotoGP test in Sepang earlier this year.

Below is the press release issued by HRC:

Pedrosa confirms further surgery to fix arm pump issues

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will unfortunately need further surgery to fix his arm pump issues that continued to plague the Spanish rider during the first round of the 2015 MotoGP Championship. This common problem among motorcycle racers is a build-up of pressure in the forearm causing great pain, and makes riding a bike exceptionally difficult when the muscle becomes too big for the ‘sack’ that it sits in.

Dani tried very hard over the winter in order to find a solution, after struggling to perform at his top level throughout the 2014 season, and even had surgery last year – after the Jerez GP – but it was unsuccessful. During this time doctors advised against any further surgery. Then throughout all the Winter testing it seemed that in theory the problem was solved, unfortunately the issue came back again under the stresses of the race situation.

After his sixth place finish in the opening race of 2015 in Qatar last weekend, Dani returned to Spain on Monday and met with specialists in Barcelona and Madrid. Their recommendation was for him to undergo surgery as soon as possible, which Dr. Angel Villamor will perform in Madrid. Special attention will be paid to the closing of the wound as this will guarantee better recovery and less risk of the problem arising again in the future.

Surgery is planned for the morning of Friday 3rd April with an expected recovery time of four to six weeks, this means Dani will certainly miss the Red Bull Austin and Argentina races. His return to racing won’t be confirmed until doctors can ascertain the success of the surgery.

His replacement will be HRC test rider Hiroshi Aoyama.

Dani Pedrosa 26
Rider – MotoGP

"Obviously this isn’t the news I wanted to be sharing with everyone. However, after speaking with some key doctors and medical professionals that I trust, they are all in agreement that this is the only option for me. We will have the surgery on Friday and they will use a special technique to help close the wound to try and prevent this issue continuing to affect me. Let’s hope it’s a success. I want to thank all my fans for their support, but especially Honda, Repsol, Red Bull and all our sponsors for their understanding in this matter."

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Well, this will be interesting. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Dani.

... to Pedrosa, I hope he fully recovers for the remainder of 2015 (and beyond?). It's disappointing to see Aoyoma get the seat however. Typical boring conservatism from Honda, although I'm sure non-factory riders will enjoy beating up on a Repsol Honda for once ;).

Hiroshi is a world champion, but hasn't really shown that during his previous stints in the flagship class. I hope he can find that world championship form this time around. Get well soon Dani!

The thing is though, in his first season in MotoGP he was doing as well as the others he'd fought for his 250cc win, except perhaps Marco - who was on a factory HRC. Though, even then he did finish ahead of Marco in the first race of 2010. At least until Silverstone when he fractured his spine. When he came back he'd lost ground (not surprising, given other newbies had more races to advance), which he never made up. His 10th in the 2011 championship wasn't terrible either - ahead of both Barbera (on a satellite Ducati) and Bautista (suzuki), but not impressive either.

I really thought Aoyama would do more in MotoGP. He was *amazing* the year before. He rode the wheels of an old, neglected, backward NSR250 that HRC hastily put a bit of tuning and engineering effort into in '09 for a final go at the 250cc championship - and it was still slow. He rode the wheels of it in order to stay with and sometimes beat the shiny, traction-control Aprilia RSA250s of Marco, Alvaro and Bautista. Aoyama won almost as often as Marco, but, importantly, knew how to finish when he couldn't win. He managed that consistency despite having to push the NSR harder to compensate for its lack of speed.

Aoyama's battle with the Aprilia's, and Marco especially, to win in Malaysia was an incredible race, and gave Hiroshi a firm grasp on the championship trophy for the final in Valencia. Where he nabbed it.

You have to think the crash in Silverstone the next year had an effect on him. The potential consequences of it may have played on his mind, consciously or not, and just made him a little more cautious. The loss of valuable track time in his learning year meant he lost ground to peers, which may also have had a subtle but significant effect on motivation. I don't know.

He still did well I think. Yet, because expectations were perhaps higher, he still disappointed slightly. Strange, because he still beat Barbera and Bautista in 2011, who are still in MotoGP, but lost his RCV ride and went into the Open wilderness. On the production Honda last year, he was better than his team-mate Hayden, beating Nicky as often as not when they both raced and beating him on avoiding crashed and injury over the season. Again Aoyama loses out though.

There's a case there to think that Hiroshi has been quite hard done by.

Personally, I find it worrying that every doctor he consulted previously advised against further surgery and now he suddenly finds one who recommends surgery. It smacks a little of "doctor shopping", where patients visit one doctor after another until they find one who gives them the (wrong) answer they wanted all along. Fortunately, Dr Villamor has experience and a solid reputation, so that probably isn't the case here, but this surgery probably carries a significant risk, career-wise. I feel for Dani because his choices are either this or retire immediately.

Good decision. I wouldn't call Dr shopping looking for someone willing to do the conventional procedure yet again but this really is different.

He is still carrying the heart and spirit of a racer, and sinew around forearm muscles can be taken on. He has little to lose once assessing that his conventional procedure and physio he received resulted in his inability to keep racing now. With his stature he needs to use his musculature a bunch to bend the bike around. There are racers that have done hip replacements, fused vertebrae, removed fingers and all kinds of lifelong hobbling procedures to keep racing. This is nothing.

Blessings on a full and 220mph speedy recovery Dani

Took a look at Wikipedia. Fasciectomy is not a procedure for the faint hearted. Good luck to Dani but I don't think I'd put myself through it just to be able to race bikes. Better to call it a day and not live your life with an arm that's been hacked about. And in the age of the superbug the risk of infection during such a prolonged healing process must be quite significant. If riders are having to go through this there needs to be a look at non-surgical ways of preventing, minimising and treating it - pressure gauntlets etc.

Anyone here gone through this procedure?

You encouraged me to take a look as well.
Wow! Let's just say that "invasive" is a term that is rightfully used for this. What I understand is that after removing parts of the fascia, the wound remains temporarily open to relieve pressure. Hence, the muscular structure is free to expand and when attempting to close the wound (after I don't know how long), it might have gotten so big that a skin transplantation becomes necessary.

Either way, that will leave his forerarm with massive scars. And he's already had this done twice. But it's not as extreme as Hayden's wrist, for instance.

... is a reason you aren't a world champion.

These guys are all, to some degree, mentally unhinged. You have to be to push harder than the other guy, among the competition at this level.

Racing is/has been Dani's life. I suspect he'd be more than willing to risk losing an arm if it came to that, if it would give him the chance to continue competing at this level.

Only time i've ever seen a fasciotomy practiced was in the case of an extreme viper envenomation. And gruesome is an understatement. Multiple surgical wounds at least 10cm wide and much longer left open for days. Unfortunately, that was just the way it had to be until the envenomation had subsided and the muscle had stopped swelling enough to be closed. Jeez it was gross, and the scarring was intense.

Thankfully this is going to be just one cut, and hopefully medical science has improved enough to reduce the scarring. At least this is planned, so I imagine it wont be near as horrific. I imagine it wont be like what I saw, as Dani plans to continue his career in better health, not worse. All the best to him.

Aoyama was doing very well on that open Honda by the end of the season. I was really surprised nobody picked him up. But really Honda did pick him up as their test rider. Perhaps the reason they did is that they knew Dani was having problems and they might need someone decent. They even tried to get Dovi on that LCR factory ride. Dovizioso and Crutchlow are know podium contenders. You can take only so many chances when you know you could be one Repsol short.

Well hello David,

I wanted to comment on Dani's ongoing arm-pump issues before he did something rash. Seems I'm just not fast enough to keep up with knife-happy racers or their even more eager for result managers.

I have an exercise that will, in the immediate short-term, provoke arm-pump. In the long-term it will totally alleviate the problem.

Allow me to introduce myself;
In motorcycling terms I am now just an arm-chair fan, I was a journalist with EMAP, a courier in my 20's, learnt to ride aged 7. But this is not the interesting bit, this is just why I follow the sport and read your web-page.

I work as a physical performer;
Flying trapeze catcher, Chinese-pole performer, sword-fighter...
Performing human-flags, working at significant height...
I am also a Personal Trainer.

I have developed extreme grip strength, I am very aware of the disabling nature of arm-pump and I have had to deal with the situation 20m above the ground.

As part of my eclectic training I studied a particular conditioning style of Kung fu. There is one specific exercise to which I am utterly devoted. This is not a quick fix, though frankly, neither is surgery.

If there are any racers out there who wish to prevent this problem with ancient techniques rather than attempt to cure it with a scalpel, then I can help them.

Surgery allowed Jorge to return to the race-track in record time and then it destroyed his mind a season later.

I wish Dani well, I don't think this surgery will be a magic bullet, I think this will be his last season.
I hope I am wrong.