Dani Pedrosa's hopes of challenging for the 2011 MotoGP World Championship have been dealt a significant blow after doctors revealed he will continue to be hampered by his shoulder injury for the time being.
The Spaniard underwent tests on the shoulder – injured in an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix last October – shortly after the opening round of the 2011 season at Losail having struggled to maintain pace during the latter stages of the race.
Citing numbness and a lack of strength in his arm, specialists have since confirmed that while Pedrosa has no vascular or nerve compression, there remains a small stretch of the plexus and it is taking time to heal.
As such, though it doesn't affect Pedrosa much during shorter runs, as evidenced by his strong form on the Repsol Honda during pre-season testing, he could suffer fatigue during the lengthier races.
While it won't prevent Pedrosa from competing, he admits he has no option but to try and ride around the injury until it fully heals.
"I honestly didn't expect my arm would react in this way because during preseason I never felt so much trouble and I thought the problem was solved,” he said. “However, I felt really bad in Qatar race and was aware that the injury is not completely healed.
“It was a shame because in Qatar I found a good feeling and until the second half of the race - that's when the pain started- I was really good and I saw a realistic chance of winning.
“I would be lying if I said I'm not disappointed because this year the bike is working very well and I'm personally prepared, but unfortunately this complication has arisen and I have nothing else to do but give my best until the injury heals completely.”
Pedrosa led the Qatar GP in the early stages before fading back to an eventual third position behind team-mate Casey Stoner
and Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo.