After battling severe arm-pump symptoms during last weekend’s final pre-season test, scans at the circuit indicated Espargaro was suffering from fibrosis, a scarring or thickening of the tissue, in his right forearm.

“I have a big fibrosis that is pushing the muscle and this is why I have no power in the hand,” he explained.

The Spaniard still completed the Portimao test, as the quickest Aprilia rider in tenth, but was limited to short runs and knew that last-minute surgery was likely to be his only option:

“I was quite fast, but still I'm not riding good. I have no strength in the arm and I can do just 2-3 laps and then stop," Espargaro said at Portimao.

“Even in the first lap, I have no strength on the front brake… It’s like this arm was completely sleeping. So it's a bit frustrating.

“It looks like they have to open [the arm], clean it and close it again. It's not a dramatic surgery, but anyway at 8:00am [on Monday] I will be in Dexeus to do more tests.”

Those checks, at Dexeus University Clinic in Barcelona, confirmed fibrosis in the muscle for which surgery was necessary.

Dr. Xavier Mir said:  "Aleix Espargaró underwent surgery on his right forearm, due to a fibrotic retraction of the forearm fascia with compression of the median nerve in the proximal third of the forearm.

"An antebrachial fasciotomy and an arch release of the pronator teres muscle was performed using microsurgical techniques. He will start his recovery as soon as tomorrow".

Espargaro took Aprilia’s first MotoGP victory in Argentina last season, followed by five other podiums on his way to a career best fourth place in the riders’ world championship.

Team-mate Maverick Vinales was 13th quickest at the Portimao test, with RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira in-between on the 2022 spec bike.

Opening practice for the Portuguese MotoGP takes place next Friday. The first ever MotoGP Sprint race will be held on the Saturday afternoon (March 25th) and main race on Sunday (March 26th).

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