Cal Crutchlow will have surgery on his right arm in Italy later today (Thursday) to cure an am pump issue that has plagued him at the start of the of the 2011 MotoGP world championship.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider started to suffer a persistent arm pump problem throughout winter testing and the issue has arisen during the season’s opening two races in Qatar and Jerez.
Crutchlow underwent surgery prior to Christmas to repair badly damaged tendons and ligaments in his left shoulder after he suffered an identical injury to the one that has left Valentino Rossi struggling for full fitness for nearly a year.
The Coventry rider is not sure whether the arm pump problem has been caused by him over compensating for the weakness in his left shoulder or whether it has started because of the physical demands of riding the 800cc YZR-M1.
Arm pump is a common problem for riders and Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden, Jorge Lorenzo and Toni Elias have all required surgery to help solve the issue.
Crutchlow, who will undergo the routine operation in Modena at 2pm UK time, told MCN: “I think in the last ten years I’ve had arm pump twice. I had it once last year in one session and that was it, I’ve never had it in race. But every single time I get on the bike now I have it.
"I don’t know whether it is because I’ve been compensating a bit with my right arm to ease the stress and pressure on my left shoulder, which is still recovering, or if is just because a MotoGP bike is a lot more physical to ride. The brake pressure you have to use is unbelievable.
"I’ve never even had arm pump on a motocross bike and that’s the one thing where you normally get it but now it is a problem all of the time. I can deal with it and ride with it but I don’t feel like I’ve been riding at 100 per cent because it is a problem that affects you.
"You can’t feel your hand and you can’t get the brake pressure you want. I had some pressure tests yesterday and in the deep muscles the pressure is really high. The doctors think something might be pressing on the nerve or there might be some old scar tissue from another injury.
"It is nothing that can’t be fixed and we’re not talking about anything that 95 per cent of the MotoGP hasn’t experienced before.”
Crutchlow underwent pressure tests on his right arm yesterday to try and specifically diagnose the cause of the arm pump and he added: “That is bloody gruelling. That pressure test is not funny either, you have a needle that’s about an inch thick and it is just rammed into your forearm and then for three minutes you’ve got to clench your first non-stop while this needle is still in your arm.
"I told the doctors I could feel an issue after three minutes, so imagine what it is like after 45 minutes of a MotoGP race?”
Crutchlow will fly back to the UK tomorrow morning (Friday) and will be fit to compete in the third round of the MotoGP world championship in Estoril on May 1.
The 2009 World Supersport champion has made a brilliant start to his MotoGP career and having finished 11th on his debut in Qatar, he was fighting for a podium last weekend in Jerez when he crashed out of fifth, He eventually finished eighth.
Crutchlow is the second MotoGP rider to go under the knife this week after Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa had surgery to alleviate a left arm and hand numbness issue that has plagued him since a practice crash in Japan last October.