Espargaro's hand struck by debris from Zarco crash
Aleix Espargaro has revealed his left hand was struck by debris arising from Johann Zarco's huge crash in the early stages of last weekend's Phillip Island MotoGP race.
Zarco suffered a heavy crash at Turn 1 at the start of the fifth lap of the Australian Grand Prix as the Tech 3 Yamaha rider made contact with the rear of Marc Marquez's bike.
The incident left some debris on the track, a piece of which hit Espargaro's hand after rebounding off the Aprilia rider's clutch lever - although he was able to continue and finish in ninth.
Speaking post-race, Espargaro revealed that the impact had moved the titanium plate he had inserted in his hand in the wake of his crash at Phillip Island last year, which caused him some pain.
"I couldn’t see anything, I was in the draft [with] many bikes in front of me," recalled Espargaro of the incident. "I was 20th or 18th at the beginning of the race so it was difficult to see in front.
"I just saw a big black piece coming super-quick to me, it hit my handlebars, the clutch lever went completely down, then it hit my hand. At the beginning I thought I couldn’t continue, I’m lucky in MotoGP we don’t use the clutch.
"Lap by lap I start to feel better but every time I opened my hand I felt a lot of pain. The problem is the plate has moved, the plate they put in last year here after my crash. It pushed the tendons, which is why I feel the pain."
Espargaro said he doesn't anticipate the situation to prevent him racing again in this weekend's Sepang race.
"I will try [to race]," he added. "It’s not related to pain, because if I could race here I can race in Malaysia. It’s more related to how the plate has moved, [whether] it is dangerous. We will see."
After a couple of difficult races in Thailand and Japan, Aprilia prepared a 'lab' bike featuring a new chassis for Espargaro to use at Phillip Island, and the Spaniard said he was pleased with the results of the experiment.
But he cautioned that the Italian manufacturer must wait and see how the revised machine performs at a more typical track like Sepang.
He said: "I can see a little bit the light because the bike is a lot different. At the beginning of the race when the bike worked good, full tank, I started to lap [1m]30s low, I felt great during the race.
"This track is quite strange. I don’t want to think what we tried here is good or bad; I want to go to Malaysia and just work this bike and see what the bike brings."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images
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About this article
|Drivers||Aleix Espargaro , Johann Zarco|
|Teams||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini|