The stage was set for Fabio Quartararo to take his third successive MotoGP win at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 2, 2021. He secured pole position and led the championship series. He won the past two races at the Jerez Circuit and enjoyed a comfortable lead in the race's early stages. It seemed like the stars aligned, but for the Frenchman, the win wasn’t to be.
As luck would have it, Quartararo’s arm pump problems returned at the worst possible moment. After stretching his lead to 1.5 seconds over Aussie Jack Miller, “El Diablo” quickly faded. Miller easily tracked down Quartararo, but that was just the beginning of his fall. Over 12 laps, the Yamaha rider lost 12 places, crossing the checkered flag in P13. After the race, Quartararo explained what happened on the track.
"I was in the lead by one-second and then I had no more power,” reported Quartararo. “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.”
While many MotoGP teams stayed in Spain for an additional test day, the Team Blue rider returned to France to undergo medical assessment for his arm pump issues. An ultrasound revealed that Quartararo’s muscles were pinching a vein in his forearm. Doctors conducted surgery to unblock the area and return Fabio’s forearm to full strength.
Quartararo previously underwent arm pump surgery in 2019. After the procedure, the problem disappeared for El Diablo during the 2020 season. Unfortunately, the issue reared its head again, costing him a well-deserved race win.
Of course, the Frenchman will need to rest if he’s planning to start his home Grand Prix on May 16, 2021. Quartararo trails Ducati rider and current series leader Francesco Bagnaia by two points. The Le Mans Circuit could be the perfect venue for the Yamaha rider to regain his stranglehold on the MotoGP world championship—as long as his arm pump doesn’t return.