Hand injury not holding Marquez back

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Marc Marquez admitted that the pain in his left hand is making life somewhat difficult for him on track in Japan but brushed away any suggestion that it's more than an inconvenience. The reigning MotoGP world champion was seventh fastest but said that the key today was not to stress his hand so that he could be in the best condition possible for qualifying and the race.

Honda has brought a new handlebar that is much thicker for Marquez' hand so that he can grip the bars without placing as much strain on his hand by reducing the power required to hold the handlebar.

"The special handlebar is a help because it's a bit bigger," said Marquez. "I can't completely close my hand so this is helping me at the brake point because the weight isn't completely in one place and the space where I am pushing my hand against the handlebar is bigger so this was a help for me. My hand was painful today, of course, but it wasn't too bad and I could ride well. This afternoon the pain was a little bit worse than this morning but I didn't push a lot in the afternoon because I didn't want to stress my hand before tomorrow. I'll do some work with the physio and hopefully it will be better tomorrow."

Track conditions were quite difficult today with plenty of riders commenting that they struggled with a slippery surface. Marquez relayed the same message and said that it was especially bad in the morning but when using a new tyre it was "slightly better."

For tomorrow the major concern is likely to be that the Ducati and Suzuki can use the softer tyre in qualifying. It looks as though there is a big advantage to be gained from that tyre and it's something that Marquez is keeping in mind even though he is still focussed on Jorge Lorenzo.

"For here it looks as though the perfect lap is very difficult in qualifying because there are so many hard braking points so qualifying will be very important. It looks as though the Suzuki and Ducati will be very strong in qualifying and it could be hard to beat them but at the moment Lorenzo is fastest so he is the one to beat!"

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Steve English

By Steve English