Dr. Angel Charter is the new guardian angel of the riders, the new Dr. Costa, in short. But he is very different from the one who created the first Clinica Mobile. Time passes, medicine improves and the ways of approaching a dangerous sport like motorcycling also change.
The main difference between Charte and Claudio Costa is that the latter was born in the era of heroic motorcycling: that of riders who raced with broken collarbones and hands. Or worse. For Costa, the overriding imperative was to get the rider back on the bike as soon as possible, meeting his demands. Charter thinks differently, we also think because of the media pressure generated after the most serious accidents.
We have the chance to get to know Charter a bit in a very long interview with Mela Chercoles in AS, summarized here, in which he addresses many issues. And it is by talking about recent events, such as the accidents of Lorenzo and Marquez, that his philosophy emerges.
“After the last serious accidents we had, including that of Marc Marquez, I met the FIM Director General and Dr David MacMagnus (responsible for the FIM Medical Commission, ed.), and I told him that he had to change, and he listened to me. I asked him to do more testing on runners when they come back from a serious injury and it’s not enough to get them to do four moves that go nowhere. We have neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists and traumatologists, all consultants on our side. Even if the rider brings us the reports of his specialist, it is always up to us to consult our consultants and decide whether or not he is fit to take to the track.
It seems that the consequence is that there will be no more miraculously short yields.
“Nope, neither like Marquez in Jerez nor Lorenzo in Assen. After Lorenzo in Assen in 2013, a more rigorous protocol was already in place”.
However, Marquez was only allowed to return to Jerez four rounds after surgery on his right humerus.
“Marquez is a special case that has caused rivers of ink to flow everywhere. Everyone had an opinion on that. When Marquez returned after his first operation, he was in perfect shape. The reports we received were correct and when he got on the bike he went fast. The time for caution had passed according to the medical code, the tests had been done and Marquez was deemed fit as he had passed all the tests. It is very easy to talk after the event. We are changing the medical code and are now more demanding. So what happened, happened. But now he is doing quite well and the last checks he carried out with an excellent traumatologist, Dr. Antuña, seem to be going well”.
Does dealing with Marquez create additional pressure?
“Marquez is a complicated and difficult subject because he is a personality. The pressure increases a lot for the doctor and everyone then feels obliged to have their say. With Marquez’s latest diplopia, I heard eye doctors who hadn’t seen him give their opinion and it became a circus. I don’t think it’s ethical, because I never give my opinion on pathologies that I don’t treat. Marquez knows what he has and knows the risks he takes. His ophthalmologist explained it to him perfectly and he is a professional. What he has does not mean that if he breaks down he will have diplopia again. It could happen to him now, in ten years, or never.”
Do you support the theory that motorcycle racers are a different race of sportsmen?
“No, no. Riders are human. What happens is that they are well prepared from an early age and also know how to plant. Remember how Maverick crashed last year in Austria and got up like nothing happened? What is very important for runners, who are afraid like you and me, is that they manage their fear perfectly. They always know how much to risk and how to risk. There are no lunatics here, no lunatics”.