UPDATE: Monster Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli says that Fabio Quartararo will get his arm checked on Monday, meaning he is likely to miss the post-race test.

For the first half of the Spanish MotoGP, Fabio Quartararo looked comfortably on course to extend his title lead with a third race win in a row.

But a 1.5s lead over Jack Miller suddenly vanished and a dramatic decline saw the Monster Yamaha rider plunge all the way down to 13th place by the chequered flag.

Rather than a tyre issue, Quartararo looked in physical as well as mental pain as he returned to the pits and the young Frenchman later confirmed he had struck arm-pump problems.

"I had a big issue with the arm, so sad because I was feeling really easy in the front," explained Quartararo. "We had amazing pace this weekend and then I just had no more power on the arm. Just so disappointed about it.

"But I fought until the end, even if it was only for 3 points."

Quartararo underwent an arm-pump operation (cutting of the fascia that surrounds the muscle to allow more blood flow, or a more invasive procedure that removes the fascia entirely) on the same right arm during his rookie 2019 campaign and had rarely been troubled with the issue since, including during last year's pair of Jerez race victories.

"Last year in Portimao was really bad [for arm pump], but this year it was perfect. And all the years I've been here in Jerez was good," he said. "2020 here was perfect, zero problems. Not even a small pain and this year was the total opposite.

"I was in the lead by one-second and then I had no more power. I still fought for six more laps with the pain, to keep the one-second lead, but it was just impossible for me. No more power.

"It was dangerous for me to ride the second half of the race but I didn't want to stop because I knew that maybe one or two points can be really important for the championship. So I gave it my all.

"I had to brake with four fingers and normally I brake with one. I couldn't go full gas on the straight. But no explanation [for the arm pump]. I'm training the same, I'm feeling even better on the bike and… I don't know."

It's possible that scar tissue in the right forearm has simply regrown over time, causing the problem to reoccur.

Either way, given the dramatic impact on his race, something - almost certainly surgery - will need to be done.

Quartararo admitted he was feeling 'lost' by the overload of information and advice he had received in the hours after the race.

"My brain right now is not working, [but] I have people - my manager, my best friend - to try to look at the best option. But right now I have no idea," he said.

"For sure something is planned because my arm is not okay. Portimao last year was a disaster, this year was perfect. Here I've never had a problem in my life, this year I have a problem. So it's something that I don’t understand.

"We are still looking but there are too many options, my brain is just full of people telling me to go in one place, to go in another, or another. Actually, right now I'm lost, but we will see."

At this stage, the #20 isn't even sure if he will take part in Monday's Official test.

"We need to think about it. Right now, I want to take a rest on the brain because I have no idea. Maybe I take a wrong decision and I don’t want to think too fast," he said.

The shock arm-pump issue blighted what had been an otherwise near perfect weekend, Quartararo slipping from pole to fourth on lap one of the race, but then calmly working his way back into the lead with passes at the final corner.

"I've been super fast. I've stayed calm, I knew I was fastest today. You start the race and you don’t even feel that stress, I was full of confidence and as soon as I was fourth I said, 'from now I will overtake them in the last corner'.

"Every lap I was overtaking, I pulled away and everything from this weekend was positive until halfway through the race and that problem on the arm. But I felt super good on the bike."

Miller went on to take Ducati's first victory of the season ahead of team-mate Francesco Bagnaia, who now leads the world championship by two-points from Quartararo.

Quartararo's home French Grand Prix at Le Mans starts in less than two weeks.

Fabio Quartararo's 2019 arm pump surgery.



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