Pol Espargaro dropped from fifth to tenth on lap 3 of the Aragon MotoGP as more bad luck struck the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider.

Espargaro, who had matched his season-best qualifying of fourth, was beginning to struggle with gearbox problems on his M1, later compounded by a gear lever issue.

"We started well and I was behind Valentino. I felt okay, relaxed, was just taking my pace and making a gap over Dovi," Espargaro said. "Then neutrals started to come in the gearbox. I went wide. I tried to recover but then I lost the rubber on the gear pedal so my foot was slipping during the downshifts into the corners.

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"So it was a complete disaster. With these neutrals problems, plus with this problem with the foot, I lost around six seconds in one lap.

"I made a big effort and got back to the group in front, including my brother and Dovi. I'd recovered a lot of time but I'd over-pushed, it was late in the race, I was spinning [the rear tyre] like crazy and I was not able to overtake. I tried on the last lap, but I was too weak and I couldn't overtake Bradley."

Espargaro finished the race in ninth place, less than a second behind team-mate Bradley Smith.

Commenting on the performance of the factory Ducatis and Suzukis he had faced in the race, Espargaro added:

"With the Ducatis we know that it's difficult to beat them, just because of the straights. I could race with Dovi but not Iannone. Iannone was so good all weekend and he was doing 343 on the straight. We were around 331-332. So 11 km/h just on the back straight, but also you lose a bit on every straight to them.

"So in the end it was impossible to fight with him, but with Dovi it was okay until the problems.

"Also Aleix did a good race, a good pace with the Suzuki. I think they've improved their speed on the straight. It is not as slow was always, and this means he can be in the race with us."

Espargaro, who like Smith will remain at Tech 3 for 2016, is now tenth in the world championship - four places below his rookie 2014 ranking.

"You know it's an unlucky season and when we can do something good, I mean today fifth was our position, we have gear problems. Also we broke one gearbox in the last race, we broke the engine in the last race also... Luck is not on our side this year. We are just fighting, fighting but not lucky," he said.

"I'm looking forward to starting again tomorrow [at the test], stopping these problems and having a normal weekend with a normal race. Just finish one race where everything is okay. These last races have been a disaster for one thing or another."