Pol Espargaro admitted he was “mentally destroyed” at the end of his first day back on a MotoGP machine since March, such are the demands of modern premier class bikes.  

The GasGas rider made a tentative return to competition as he looked to ease himself back into the fold following such a long layoff as he recovered from multiple fractures sustained as a result of his crash during practice for the season opening Portuguese Grand Prix – including a fractured dorsal vertebra.

Espargaro ended the day 21st on the timesheets and just over two-and-a-half seconds from Friday pace-setter Aleix Espargaro, the Spaniard explaining that being unable to ride a MotoGP bike for so long had taken its toll and that he was so “mentally destroyed” after FP1 that he had to take an hour nap in order to be ready for the afternoon practice outing.

“It was very very stressful, one of the most stressful in my career in this place where it’s a fast track, changing direction at this higher speed with this bike (is tough) because my brain is not as fast as everything was coming,” explained Espargaro.

“I wanted to do more but, especially in the first practice, I was not ready enough because my brain wasn’t working fast enough for the information I was getting, and it makes you realise how fast these bikes are and how fast things come, it’s insane.

“Mentally I’m destroyed because it’s like you are asking a lot from yourself and you are not able to do it.

“I also have to face moments where it feels like I’m going to high-side and things like that, and a lot of things go through your mind and you need to block them.

“I was just about to do a fast lap and (Marco) Bezzecchi high-sided just in front of me, it’s these moments where you have to face these battles and it’s not easy at all.

“From a mental perspective I was destroyed after the first session, I never normally sleep in between the sessions and I needed to take an hours sleep because my brain was overloaded and my brain was finished.”

Espargaro added that he was also struggling from a physical perspective aside from the mental aspect, the Spaniard remarking that he struggled to make the fast changes of direction –  that are all important at Silverstone – as well as he’d like.

He also felt that he’d garner more benefit from further dry running during Saturday despite wet weather being less physically demanding as he looks to build up towards a more competitive showing next time out in Austria.

“Apart from that I’m not ready physically, the muscles look very good in the mirror and then you come here and you realise how tough it is and that there are muscles that you only train while you are riding,” continued Espargaro.

“Then this afternoon when I had more natural actions I simply couldn’t make the change of directions in a fast way.

“Physically it’ll help me (wet weather) but then you face more battles because you have much more chance to crash, so I would prefer for it to be dry which means there is less risk for everyone.

“I want to be able to prepare for Austria, I will not shine there for sure but I want to do something great for myself so to do that I need laps in the dry tomorrow.”

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