The Aprilia rider starts the Red Bull Ring event 22-points from Quartararo and 27 clear of a fast-closing Francesco Bagnaia.

With Austria traditionally a tough event for Yamaha, on paper both Espargaro and especially Bagnaia (Ducati) have a strong chance of making championship gains this weekend.

However, a revised track, featuring a new chicane, and the threat of rain means there could be plenty of surprises.

Ducati's BIG DECISION coming soon! | Crash.Net MotoGP Podcast 59

"My physical situation is improving day by day,” said Espargaro. “The edema [swelling] in my left foot has practically disappeared while my right foot, the one that was fractured at Silverstone, is still causing me some pain.

“However, I think I won't have any problems this weekend and I'm aiming for a good race. I am curious to see how the RS-GP will perform at the Austrian track, our goal remains to be fast at every opportunity."

While Espargaro suffered the Assen incident and Silverstone injury, team-mate Maverick Vinales put his Aprilia on the podium at both events, finishing just 0.426s from Bagnaia and victory in the UK.

The Spaniard now returns to the scene of his Yamaha suspension seeking to make it three rostrums in a row.

"We come from two podiums in a row, our morale is definitely positive,” said Vinales, now ninth in the world championship.

“I learnt a lot in the race at Silverstone and I will use the information gathered to continue to improve. Spielberg is a track I like and it could be the right opportunity to show the progress we have made over the last twelve months."

Three RS-GPs will be on track this weekend with test rider Lorenzo Savadori returning to the scene of his fiery accident, and ankle fracture, after hitting the fallen bike of Dani Pedrosa last year.

"I am obviously happy to be back on track together with Aleix and Maverick,” Savadori said. “The races are the perfect complement to the great work we are doing with the Aprilia Test Team, because comparing ourselves with the best riders in the world helps us gather important data on the development of the RS-GP.

“Also because the Austrian track is a special, interesting one. I have some discomfort in my shoulder after a training injury but the checks have ruled out serious consequences and I'm recovering well, so I hope to have a good weekend".