The Aprilia rider saw his last chance to improve taken away when Jack Miller fell at the slow Turn 5 hairpin.

As Espargaro passed the scene of the accident, he looked across and gestured his displeasure.

Afterwards, the Spaniard clarified that his reaction wasn’t directed at Miller but the big TV screen just behind him, which showed there was no time left for another lap.

“I was unlucky,” Espargaro said. “I was talking with Jack because he thought I was blaming him. I was not blaming him at all, but his crash was on the big screen.

“So I watched the big screen and saw there was only 41 seconds [left]. It was my second cancelled lap due to a yellow flag and I realised I had no time to attempt a third flying lap.

What's NEXT for Miguel Oliveira & KTM? | MotoGP 2022

“I was angry with the situation, but not blaming Jack. Poor Jack crashed, what can you say to him?

“But I was angry with the situation, because I know how tight MotoGP is and today my potential was higher than fifth place. That's all.”

As Miller was making his way back to the pits, he then experienced a near-miss with Espargaro’s team-mate Maverick Vinales, costing the Australian a Long Lap penalty for the race.

Espargaro: My FP4 pace ‘surprisingly fast’

While Francesco Bagnaia and Fabio Quartararo head the list of pre-race favourites, having filled the top two places in both final practice and qualifying, the pair set their best FP4 times on the hard rear tyre while Espargaro (fourth) spent the entire session on a soft.

“No idea about the tyres, yet,” he said. “My pace in FP4 was surprisingly fast. The tyre didn't drop and I managed to do I think 10 laps in the ‘32s, which is very very fast!

“But it look likes the hard gives you a little bit more stability. I didn't try it yet. I will try in the warm up.

“I think Pecco, Fabio and myself are a little bit faster than the rest in terms of pace, but Martin [third] and Bezzecchi [fourth] did a very good job in qualifying. So I will be a little bit more stressed in the first laps. But this is MotoGP!”

Whatever happens on Sunday, Espargaro will go into the summer break holding second in the world championship, since he is currently 34 points behind Quartararo and 27 clear of Johann Zarco (who will start seventh).