Pol Espargaro: ‘My left shoulder is a bit higher than the right…’

Pol Espargaro has explained that the hot flyaway MotoGP races are placing an even greater physical burden on his damaged body.
Pol Espargaro, MotoGP, Australian MotoGP, 21 October
Pol Espargaro, MotoGP, Australian MotoGP, 21 October

The GASGAS Tech3 rider missed the first half of the season after suffering extensive injuries during practice for the Portimao opener, in March.

Espargaro fractured ten bones in his back, neck, ribs and jaw, leaving him 1.5cm shorter.

While the Spaniard insists his injuries are now “not a big problem” in normal weather conditions and he can “ride perfectly”, the heat seems to trigger a “nerve disorder” in some muscles on the left side of his body.

“I especially struggle in hot conditions,” Espargaro said at the recent Thai round.

“Normally in hot conditions the muscles get bigger and heavier. And I have some disorder in my body, working disorder, like some nerves are activating the muscles at the wrong time, and the recovery of that muscles is not very good, especially on the left side of my body.

“And when it's so hot, I struggle more than when it's cold. Like in Phillip Island [cold], it was sweet, I didn't even feel tired. But every time it's hot, I feel that I struggle more than the others. I've never been very good in hot conditions, but now it's really tough. But it's what it is.”

Pol Espargaro, MotoGP, Indonesian MotoGP, 15 October
Pol Espargaro, MotoGP, Indonesian MotoGP, 15 October

Pressed on whether he felt pain as well as tiredness in such conditions, Espargaro replied:

“It's a little bit of pain… Like all the left part of my body, now I'm standing [straight], you can see the left shoulder is a little bit higher than the right one. This is normally something that happens coming from the neck to the scapula [shoulder blade] on the left side, it's not working very good.

“When the conditions are normal, I don't feel a big problem, and I can ride the bike perfectly, but when the situation is tough and it's on the limit, I reach that limit a little bit earlier than the others.

“So that's why maybe I need a little bit more time to get back in those hard conditions to be also fit and better than I've been in the past.”


After finishing 18th and last but just a fraction behind team-mate Augusto Fernandez in Thailand, Espargaro now heads for another scorching hot event at Sepang in Malaysia this weekend.

"This week at home has been really good for me after the three races in a row. Indonesia and Thailand were very demanding because of the high temperatures, and I felt them a lot more than usual with my current physical conditions,” he said.

“I know that Malaysia will also be tough, although I hope that having had a week to rest will help me feel better. Sepang has always been a tricky track for me, but I was very competitive during the winter test.

“However, the bike has changed so much since then, so I don’t really know what to expect this weekend. Anyway, there are only three weekends left before the end of this ‘special’ season, so I hope that I can have fun on the bike, starting with the Malaysian GP."

Since his return, Espargaro has taken a best finish of sixth in a Sprint (Red Bull Ring) and twelfth in a grand prix (Silverstone).

The 32-year-old will make way for Pedro Acosta by switching to KTM wild-card and test riding duties in 2024.

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