Dani Pedrosa is facing a race against time to be fit for the Qatar MotoGP season opener on April 12, after doctors stated that it will be a minimum of four weeks before he can bend his leg following Wednesday's skin graft surgery.

The Spaniard sustained a fractured left forearm and reopened a left knee wound when he was thrown from his Repsol Honda during Monday night at the Qatar test and was then hit by his RC212V. Pedrosa's knee was still recovering from surgery in December, to help heal damage sustained on lap one of last October's Australian Grand Prix.

After receiving treatment in Qatar, including three stitches in his knee, Pedrosa returned to Spain for detailed examinations of his injuries, which confirmed that the six-time MotoGP race winner had suffered 'a loss of internal matter on his left knee' and 'a fractured left distal radius affecting the wrist joint on his left arm'.

The former 125 and double 250cc world champion returned to Barcelona's USP Institut Universitari Dexeus for surgery at 7.30pm on Wednesday. Pedrosa was operated on by Dr Bartolom? Ferreira, specialist in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Dr. Xavier Mir, Head of the Hand Surgery Microsurgery Unit.

The two doctors carried out the three-hour operation at the same time, with the left knee skin graft the most lengthy.

Afterwards, the doctors spoke about each procedure and the likely recovery time.

"Dani Pedrosa received a graft on the open [knee] wound using a rotation graft - a graft of skin and fat taken from the inside of his left thigh - to cover the affected area," stated Dr. Ferreira. "We must now wait for scar tissue to form; the patient will be able to start moving a little within three weeks and within a minimum of four he can begin to bend the leg."

Dr. Mir believes that the forearm fracture should heal more quickly: "The fracture on the left distal radius, which was affecting the joint, has been repaired, it was then fixed with a titanium screw. The functioning of the affected zone will begin within ten days, in the meantime Dani Pedrosa will stay in hospital for the next 72 hours."

The timeframe given for the knee recovery means Pedrosa is almost certain to miss the final pre-season test session, at Jerez from March 28-29 - just over three weeks - and the 23-year-old will then have only two more weeks of recovery time before the racing season begins at Qatar from April 10-12.

Pedrosa also began the 2008 MotoGP season injured after fracturing his hand during testing at Sepang, but went on to win two races and was leading the world championship when he fell from the lead of the wet German Grand Prix in mid-July.

Hand and ankle injuries from that accident contributed to Pedrosa eventually finishing third in the 2008 title chase.



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