“The front tyre was our record – never been that high, crazy,” Espargaro said on Saturday. “More than 2.2 [bar]. The front was locking in a straight line in corners 2, 4, 5.

“We started very low, and tomorrow we’re going to start even lower, but it’s difficult to predict. If you start 1.75 and you reach 1.85… but we started lower than 1.5. So it’s very difficult to predict which way it’s going to go.”

The minimum pressure values, now monitored in real-time with the threat of post-race time penalties, are 1.88 bar for the front tyre and 1.68 bar for the rear, although some riders spoke of being given 'more margin' in Austria to account for the circuit's altitude.

After a seventh place in the Sprint, which saw team-mate Maverick Vinales among six riders caught up in a first-turn pile-up, Espargaro started Sunday’s grand prix with his front Michelin, “Like a flat tyre. It was unbelievable, you can't imagine how low we start.”

Such low pressure makes the RS-GP feel “super, super heavy” on the opening lap but “in two laps it's OK and by “lap 4 it’s already normal.”

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While Aprilia had their tyre pressures more under control for the main race, and despite Espargaro setting the fourth fastest lap, he again felt the stop-go nature of the track didn’t play to his riding strengths.

After rising swiftly from eleventh to eighth, directly behind front-row qualifying team-mate Maverick Vinales, Espargaro couldn’t keep pace and finished in ninth, eight seconds behind the leading RS-GP.

“It's me,” Espargaro said. “The bike is also me. We built this bike, we tried to do it like I love to have a bike, it's my dream bike. But I'm not good, because Maverick was much better than me all weekend.

“Maverick rode on a really, really good level this weekend, and he proved that in the tight corners, he can be competitive. Not to win, but more competitive than me.”

The tight corners, rather than tyre pressures, were also Espargaro’s explanation for the lack of overtaking in Austria.

“It's Austria. It's this layout. It was a nice show [with] a lot of people here, but this is not a normal track. It's stop-and-go. It's difficult to see close racing, because it's like stop-go, stop-go, so you cannot be close to them.

“It's going to be always like this, always. I was expecting to have more trouble with the front pressure, it was tricky, but I don't think Brad could be closer to Pecco today.”

Silverstone winner Espargaro is seventh in the world championship after ten of 20 rounds, with Vinales in tenth.