What is arm pump? Fabio Quartararo stricken by MotoGP problem

Leigh McManus May 3, 2021

What is arm pump? That’s the question on everybody’s lips after Fabio Quartararo cited it as the reason for his struggles at the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix yesterday.

What happened to Fabio Quartararo?

The French rider was “forced to throw in the towel after dominating the race in the early stages” at Jerez GP in Spain, as GP One put it.

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The 22-year-old had built up a lead of well over a second and led the race from lap four to lap 15.

But with 12 laps to go, the Yamaha rider began to experience arm pump and had to acquiesce his lead to Ducati’s Jack Miller and settle for a 13th place finish.

The six-time Spanish championship winner told journalists after throwing in the towel: “I was leading without problems, I had gained a second from Miller, but in the middle of the race I found myself without strength.

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“The arm hardened and became like a stone. I resisted for about six laps, but then I got to a point that I could barely brake and it was also dangerous.”

What is arm pump in MotoGP?

So, what exactly is this ailment that affects riders?

Quartararo noted that his right “arm hardened and became like a stone.” This is because arm pump is when the forearm muscle swells so much that it puts pressure on the bands that cover it, according to Motorsport.com.

The site also states that the condition is very common among riders. It essentially affects their ability to put muscle into acceleration, making them slower.

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During his debut season in MotoGP, in June 2019, Quartararo had to have his arm operated on and doesn’t know where he goes from here, stating that “from the middle of the race on, I could barely brake with four fingers when I normally brake with only one finger.”

Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro also experienced arm pump trouble at Jerez and both he and Quartararo are expected to miss this morning’s tests.

Leigh is a 26-year-old journalist from the north of Ireland. He studied International Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University, where he earned a 2:1 grade. He has worked for Mail Online and has experience with the Liverpool Echo, Irish Mirror and SWNS. Leigh is also a huge music fan and has his own show on a community radio station.