Dani Pedrosa's 2011 MotoGP title chances are already in doubt after the Spaniard encountering severe problems with his left arm during Sunday's season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.
Pedrosa smashed his left collarbone after a throttle malfunction during practice for last October's Japanese Grand Prix, and had experienced a lack of strength and numbness after returning for the final few races of last year.
Further surgery was considered, but eventually ruled out after medical tests, and the 2010 title runner-up seemed to be untroubled by the arm during winter testing.
But after brilliantly taking the fight to new Repsol Honda team-mate Casey Stoner for the first half of Sunday's race, Pedrosa was struggling to hold on to his RCV.
Dani lost the lead to Stoner on lap 12 of 22, then a further position to Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo in the closing stages. Pedrosa's lap times had dropped from mid-1min 55sec to mid-1min 56sec.
"I'm disappointed, not for the race I had, but for the physical problems I had again with my left arm,” he said. “Already in practice I felt something, but I was not sure if it could be that bad, at the end I couldn't grab the handlebar and in the last 7-8 laps I couldn't use the clutch at all. I was just holding the arm and I was suffering a lot.
“The bike was perfect all race, I had the chance to win but I had a very hard time, one of the toughest races of my life. I don't know what can I do, because should be ok after the rest I had this winter. I did the tests and everything was in order. In the winter tests I was a bit weak, but I felt alright, so I don't know what we have to do.
“I feel sorry for my team as well, because the bike was very good, fast, perfect also in the corners. I'm proud of how I've been riding, I've been fighting with Casey in this circuit as nobody else did in the past but at the same time I feel sad because I don't know what the future will bring.
“I know we will go to Jerez in two weeks, where the bike will run very well, and I'm very strong and fast, but I don't know what will happen".