Pushing through the pain at Mugello

Posted on Jun 06, 2013 by George Penny

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Amazing what some sleep and food can do after an interesting day with the specialist in San Marino yesterday checking on the results of my antics at Mugello at the weekend. The best news is that I will be fit to ride at the next round in Barcelona in just under two weeks time. The not so good news is that I have a cracked bone in the scaphoid of my left wrist and the little finger on my left hand will be permantly bent.

He was unable to carry out a graft on the finger because the skin was so badly damaged but is confident it will heal naturally. Unfortunately the damage to the tendon means I will have a permantly bent finger although they are hopeful they can straighten it more than it is at the moment. There is nothing he could do about the scaphoid but again is confident it will heal naturally. An interesting day all round and not the best way to start the week especially watching them drilling into the finger after they could only give me a local anesthetic.

Riding a MotoGP bike at the best of times is hard but riding a MotoGP bike with one hand round Mugello is near enough an impossible task. Ten laps into the race I was getting arm pump in my right arm because I was using it so much to protect my left hand and wrist. I then had to switch over to the left arm to try and give the right a rest and the finger and wrist where giving me plenty of hassle. With ten laps to go I made a small mistake which slicked something in my brain to switch off all the pain and I started to hunt down Aleix Espargaro in front of me. Once again another lap would have done it and so it was a bit disappointing but good to finish ninth and keep up with my rivals in the Championship despite the injuries.

We talked about traction control last week but not even traction control could catch my two crashes on Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. It’s all a learning experience but a pain full way to learn. I got caught out in both my crashes going out on a cold tyre in the first couple of laps at the same left hander at the Casanova/ Savelli esses.

The first crash was not a nice situation to be in. I had the choice of being run over by my bike or free my left hand from under the handlebars as I slid along.Unfortunatily I probably made the wrong decision and it would have been better to have been run over by the bike but it could have been worse. My Rev’it gloves did an amazing job with the titanium knuckle guard. Amazingly I only damaged the top of my little finger but without the guard it could have been my whole hand.

My Dad’s description on the finger was it was like a sausage that had been split open and I honestly have never seen anything like it in my life. The Clinica Mobile did an amazing job on the finger. Moto3 rider Efren Vazquez took on the job of anaesthetist . He was detailed to distract me by talking while they cleaned up the finger and cut away the burnt and dead skin although he went quiet at one point when he had a peep.

The guys at the clinic played such a massive part in me finishing ninth in the race as did Christian who is Cal Crutchlow’s physio who crossed over the garage to help me so much. I also had a special four fingered glove made and without all these guys and everybody in the team who twice had to put the bike together I would not have been able to race.

When you are injured sometimes you can become a little flippant because your mind is taken up by the injury and not totally focused on the race.I needed a good clip round the side of the head and a reminder that Brad you need to sort things out, before getting caught out for the second time on Sunday morning. Ironically it was not ideal preparation but it really focused me for the race. It certainly got my head focused and I attacked Valentino Rossi round the outside of turn one and I was certainly fired up. I knew I could not make another mistake but I was up for it. The crash in the morning did not take the wind out of my sails but actually gave me that clip round the head that I needed.

Injuries and crashes are part of the game and you have to accept this if you are going to race motorcycles for a living. That’s life and what I paid to do. This is part of the game and the main thing is to recover as quickly as possible and be ready for the next race.

I look like a bit of a boxer at the moment with a real shiner coming under my left eye. I look like I’ve just completed three rounds with Karl Froch but to be honest I think I’d feel even worse after those three rounds. At least I have a bit of a war wound to show for my antics over the weekend.


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