Aleix Espargaro began the Japanese MotoGP battling with the factory machines at the front of the field - and ended it by being forced to bail off after 'brake issues' with his Aspar Aprilia.

The reigning double CRT class champion was into the top five on the opening lap, but soon began to experience the brake problems that would lead to his spectacular exit, at the end of the back straight, on lap 13 of 24.

"It was a shame about the race today, because I got away really well and was fourth or fifth off the line - the bike was going great," said Espargaro, who had dropped back to twelfth at the time of his fall.

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"From the beginning I noticed I had some problems with the brakes, so I was going very wide on the opening lap and everyone passed me. I had to ride much slower and brake early.

"In the end I crashed, but fortunately I escaped unhurt.

"It's a shame to end the flyaways like this, as it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. At least my brother won the Moto2 title today, so from me and also from all of the Aspar Team, congratulations to him.

"In less than two weeks we have the race in Valencia, the home race for the team, and we'll see if we can win [the CRT class] there again."

Valencia will be Aleix's last race for Aspar, before moving to the Forward Racing Yamaha team.