Roberts Ready to Race Following Surgery

Elliot Strong
by Elliot Strong
Edenbridge, England- July 17, 2002:

KENNY ROBERTS JR. is promising to get his best result of the season when he returns to MotoGP racing at the Czech GP at Brno in August.

Roberts is missing this weekend's German GP at Sachsenring - a one race forced absence - as he recovers from surgery on his right arm, which has been troubling him all season with the phenomenon nicknamed "Racers Wrist."

In Kenny's case, this was expressed as compartment syndrome in the muscles of his right forearm, after years of strain of operating the throttle, brake and steering of a motorcycle at racing speeds. It caused his arm to pump up while riding, and though the rider kept his problems private, he had been suffering from the start of the season.

The painful problem became acute at Assen and Donington Park at the last two GPs, triggering the decision to put planned surgery forward by a week, missing the German GP with the aim of ensuring more than complete recovery when the season resumes at Brno.

"I'd been planning to have the surgery privately during the break but the problem was just getting too bad," explained Roberts, who flew home directly from last weekend's British GP.

The surgery was performed in California by well-known sports surgeon Dr. Arthur Ting, who has also treated (among others) five-time champion Mick Doohan.

Dr. Ting pronounced the operation a complete success. "Kenny had compartment syndrome of the forearm, commonly referred to as 'arm pump'," said Ting. "This causes excruciating pain, making if difficult if not impossible for a rider to hold on to the bike. I performed a cutting and releasing of the fascia sheath. This was done because the muscle under the sheath was getting too big to be contained by the sheath. The normal recovery period is five to six weeks, but in Kenny's case recovery should be much quicker."

Roberts explained that the new 990cc four-stroke Suzuki GSV-R had exacerbated the problem, because it is heavier than the 500 on which he won the championship, and requires for the throttle to be blipped while braking.

"I'd been having trouble ever since we started testing the new bike. I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike without the psychological and physical baggage the arm pump created," he said.

"This should be an immediate and complete solution. I look forward to being able to ride as hard as I can at Brno, and I expect to have my best performance and finish so far this year at that race," he concluded.

Get in your Inbox
Elliot Strong
Elliot Strong

More by Elliot Strong

Join the conversation