30 March 2015
Honda: ‘We need to help Pedrosa’
“At this moment what [Dani] knows is he doesn't want to race like this”- Livio Suppo, Repsol Honda.
With Dani Pedrosa not commenting further after revealing he needs to find an urgent fix for persistent arm pump issues, it was left to Repsol Honda MotoGP team manager Livio Suppo to answer questions from the media in the Qatar paddock.
Having qualifying second on the grid for Sunday's season opener, ahead of team-mate and reigning double world champion Marc Marquez, Pedrosa slumped to sixth in the race as the arm pump problems came back to haunt him.
Arm pump, or compartmental syndrome, causes a lack of strength and feeling in the forearm and is common among motorcycle racers. Most undergo surgery to relieve the symptoms.
Worryingly, Pedrosa has already undergone two operations on his right forearm - most recently after Jerez last year - and doctors have warned that a third surgery could actually make things worse, presumably due to the amount of scar tissue in the arm.
Suppo began by stressing the disappointment Pedrosa is feeling at finding the problem is no better than last year - effectively wrecking his hopes of finally winning the MotoGP title after just one race.
“In this moment of course he is in a really bad mood, clearly,” Suppo said. “He was hoping that during this winter with no stress the arm was getting better. He realised at the first race it was exactly the same result as last year. In some races [last year] it was worse, in some races better.
“I can totally understand his feeling. At this moment what he knows is he doesn't want to race like this. So we will try again to see again if there is any other option. Last year here [the arm pump] was very bad and in Austin was not that bad. Probably depending on the circuit or circumstances.
“So we need to speak with the doctor. Doctor Mir already confirmed that to do another surgery on the same arm - he already had two surgeries - could be even worse. There is another [type of] surgery that Doctor Mir explained is very complicated, he never did and only one doctor in the world has done. But it is very invasive.
“So at this moment they are saying the best thing is for him to sleep on it and speak with the doctors again before Austin and see what is the best solution.
“When he does the test and the effort this problem doesn't come out. Only riding the bike for many laps. Also this is why it is so difficult for the doctors to understand if there is something they can do.”
With Pedrosa appearing unwilling to race until the arm pump situation can be improved, and doctors struggling to provide a solution, Suppo was asked if the problem could spell the end of Pedrosa's career.
“I don't know. I hope not of course... Dani with a problem is still a top rider. Last year he was anyway very strong, second in the championship for almost all season, even with the problem.
“I understand his feeling now. I mean at the beginning of the season you have the same problem. His target is to win the title and so I totally understand that at this moment he is really sorry. We need to help him.”
The Italian added: “Dani has been a Honda rider since the beginning of his career. And honestly, do you find somebody else that can do what Dani does even with one arm?
“I understand his point. Dani is a three-time world champion. He is always trying to win the [MotoGP] championship and is always a title contender. I understand that in his mind if you cannot do it, it is something difficult to accept.
“But again the priority is his physical condition and we will continue trying to find some solution. If not we will see.”
Suppo laughed off the suggestion that former Honda world champion Casey Stoner, recently confirmed as competing in the Suzuka 8 Hours, could take Pedrosa's place.
“Casey already said many times he will never come back to MotoGP. And anyway I believe we will find a solution [for Dani]. I'm optimistic.”
Round two of the world championship takes place in Austin, Texas in two weeks' time.
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