Aprilia has provided an update on the condition of MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro, who is continuing his recovery from a fracture in his left hand.

The Catalan was forced to sit out a recent three-day test at Jerez due to the injury, which he sustained in a crash during the Australian Grand Prix.

Espargaro broke the fourth metacarpus bone as well as the little finger on his left hand, meaning he rode the final grand prix of the year at Valencia in considerable discomfort – a fact that wasn’t helped by four crashes over the three days.

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Two further days of testing at Valencia followed and with Aprilia not due to reveal the 2018 version of the RS-GP until Sepang in late January, Espargaro felt it was best to miss the test at Jerez and ensure he is fighting fit once the new year rolls around.

And the elder of the Espargaro brothers is hopeful of escalating his training at the end of this calendar year. At present, he is training with a road bicycle in Andorra. He is hopeful of starting off-road training by December’s end.

"My injured hand is healing well,” said Espargaro. “The weekend in Valencia was demanding and we also had two rather important days of testing right after the race.

“At the moment I am only training on the road with my bicycle, but the idea is to begin a bit of off-road at the end of the year. At that time, we'll be able to test the real conditions of my hand.

“I want to be in the best possible physical conditions after the break. I can't wait to get back in the saddle of the RS-GP for the Sepang tests."

Aprilia test rider Eugene Laverty filled in for Espargaro at Jerez last week, a move that was appreciated by new rider Scott Redding.

“To be honest, the team is focussed on both of us [me and Aleix],” said Redding. “The work they’ve done to try and get my forward is unreal. It’s something that I haven’t had in a long, long time.

“Being part of a project and developing it is something that I haven’t had since in the Moto2 days. You feel part of something. You’re giving them information that they’re using. That motivates me more.

“If Aleix is here or not, it doesn’t matter. It would be a better reference if he was here, to see if we could close the gap to him. My target is obviously to close the gap to the front guys, but also to Aleix.

“We’ll see next year because his style is quite different to mine, but we need to find something that works for the both of us. In the end, having Eugene testing some things is good for us. At least we have two people on track.”

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Aleix!!! World Champ 2018...hey its my fantasy....go make up your own!