Aleix Espargaro braved the pain of his injured thumb to earn an excellent row two start on the Suzuki GSX-RR at Mugello.

Espargaro required surgery to reconstruct the ligament in his right thumb after a heavy fall at Le Mans but set an impressive 1m 46.854s lap to qualify fifth for the Italian MotoGP, joining Cal Crutchlow (fourth) and Ducati test rider Michele Pirro on the second row of the grid.

"Not a bad day at all. I think we improved in the first session of the weekend a lot. Today I feel better with the hand so I can do six laps in a row," joked Espargaro.

Related Articles

"It's getting better but the problem is when it's hot after four or five laps I feel pain but this is normal.

"It [thumb injury] will challenge me more tomorrow, but [it is] much better. Also we made a big change to the bike in FP4 and I was able to do a lot of laps with a race tyre.

"I was able to make 1'48 low with 16 or 17 laps on the tyre so it is good race pace and I am confident for tomorrow.

"Today in the qualifying I felt a little bit strange and I was not sure to push 100 per-cent because I know if I have a small crash I can hurt my hand, so I just tried to do two laps completely alone and one lap on each tyre was enough," added Espargaro, who clocked his best lap using the extra soft tyre but has ruled out using the compound in Sunday's race.

"For sure it [extra soft] helps a lot but the Ducati now is in a very good moment and we have the same tyre but are three tenths back on Dovi, so this is the most important thing," he said.