19 August 2016
MotoGP Czech Republic: Injured hand not an issue for Espargaro
'I still have a strange feeling in the handlebars because I have no strength, but no pain and I'm really happy to have a normal weekend' - Aleix Espargaro.
Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro doesn't expect to be adversely affected by his injured hand after the Spaniard made a strong start to the weekend at Brno.
Espargaro, who hurt his hand last weekend in Austria, finished free practice seventh fastest overall with a best lap in 1m 56.441s and is feeling confident of his prospects in Sunday's race.
“I'm feeling much better than last weekend and there was a lot of pain in the morning, but it was much better in the afternoon. I didn't expect this because after three days with the hand like this, yesterday was painful and I couldn't move,” he said.
“I still have a strange feeling in the handlebars because I have no strength, but no pain and I'm really happy to have a normal weekend.
“In Austria, with this bike you need to really handle the handlebars in every acceleration and I suffered a lot, the pain didn't allow me to have the hands close. In this track, it is more easy and also the spin level is so high, so the traction of the bike is not unbelievable.”
Assessing his performance on Friday, Espargaro said some changes to the rear of the GSX-RR made a big difference in the afternoon session and revealed he intends to focus on the softer Michelin tyre during final practice on Saturday.
“I felt we did a great job today, we improved a lot in the last run and we changed a lot in the rear part of the bike with the shock. At the beginning, the spin was unbelievable even with the hard or soft tyre. Tomorrow I want to try and do a lot of laps with the soft tyre and I want to try and do what [Andrea] Iannone did in Austria with the soft and we will see,” Espargaro said.
“Today we made a lot of laps with the hard tyre and the spin is crazy, even with 15 laps it is the same. I think with the soft, the spin will be less but I don't think that the tyre will drop a lot. If you ride easy and save the tyre, you can do the race. I'm really motivated and really hungry to make a good weekend and I have started positive.”
Espargaro encountered major issues with the bumps around Brno in 2015 and although the circuit still poses some problems, the 27-year-old says the Suzuki is working much better this year.
“Last year was crazy [with the bumps] and I was really worried but I had a lot of problems and I think it was the worst round for me. This year it is completely different and I felt better everywhere, especially the front part of the bike is turning a lot and I can ride okay on the bumps.
“But even with this, the bumps are unbelievable and it is really, really bumpy.”
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