On Friday's evidence the Italian Grand Prix may have come too soon for Aleix Espargaro, who struggled through Friday's two MotoGP practice sessions in Italy.

The Catalan admitted he was unable to string more than three laps together at Mugello due to "unbelievable pain" in the right hand, which he damaged in his monster crash at Le Mans.

Espargaro underwent surgery just ten days before the start of free practice to repair a damaged ligament in his right thumb. Unfortunately for the Ecstar Suzuki runner, the pain when braking has left his ability to complete 20 laps on Sunday in question.

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"The pain was more than I expect because after two or three laps. After the first two it was good but after three laps the pain is unbelievable in the brakes and I cannot continue. Every time after three laps I stop and I never do more than three laps in a row. So tomorrow we have to take something for the race because it's twenty more.

When asked whether he would be able to complete race distance in the punishing Italian heat Espargaro joked that he would need a full box of painkillers to do so.

"For sure I will start and then I will see. We talk with Xavi Mir. He told me that one ligament is not like a bone. It needs a lot of time. Just eight days after the surgery the handlebar is pushing on the surgery (scar) all the time and because of this I'm not able to ride. I'm really happy and tomorrow and race day I will try to take one box full of painkillers and I will try to race!"

Despite his fitness concerns Espargaro finished the day an impressive seventh fastest despite being over 12kph slower through the speed trap than Andrea Dovizioso's Ducati.

"Maybe this pain is higher than the hand," he laughed. "We are trying our best. Even with the speed on the worst track on the calendar the difference is six tenths. We have to be proud. I think soon we will have good things to try and to improve. We just need break."

Suzuki's GSX-RR, notoriously adroit at handling, was third fastest through Mugello's sinewy second sector in Espargaro's hands and the 25-year old admitted it's a joy to ride, injuries and speed deficit aside.

"The bike is fantastic in the Arrabiata, in the downhill. It is unbelievable. When you release the front brake the bike turns incredible. It keeps the line really good. It's a mix between a Moto2 because you can brake really late and my Yamaha from last year because the bike keeps a lot the line. Obviously we need more power and then it will be fantastic."


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Good to see the improvements by Suzuki, every other factory should be ashamed not hiring Aleix the guy deserves it.