Aleix Espargaro has revealed his Aprilia engineers have further limited the rev limit of his RS-GP as the team seeks to get to the bottom of a string of reliability issues that have cost him some strong results in recent races.

The Catalan suffered engine blow ups when running strongly at Le Mans and the Circuit of Catalunya, leaving him a lowly 18th in the world championship with just 17 points to his name.

And while he is hopeful a further limiting of revs will successfully address the issue at Assen, Espargaro admitted he is not completely sure whether the problem stems from that aspect of engine performance.

"It's super important [to finish]," he said on Thursday. "The last races, we broke too many engines, I think we more or less understand what's going on, we will have a little bit less revs during the weekend to try to be a little bit more safe. Obviously we will lose a bit of performance, but as you say, the most important thing is to finish.

"We lowered the revs also last weekend after Mugello and after Le Mans. Every weekend, we are getting lower. We didn't lose a lot of performance regarding the top speed. For example in Barcelona I was happy with my top speed, actually my top speed was similar to Yamaha and Honda.

"But I'm not sure that it's the revs which are the problem. I think we are not 100% sure that it's the revs which are the problem, and it's good that after two races, we have one free month because they can work to understand the problem.

"But the most important thing is to be on the safe side and to try to finish the races, because the position I have in the championship is ridiculous. So we need to finish races and take points."

Looking ahead to Assen, the scene of Espargaro's first ever MotoGP pole position, the 27-year old fully believes he can fight for the 'top positions', putting him a 'really ambitious' frame of mind.

"[Expectations are] Really high. They have to be high expectations, because in the last three weekends, Le Mans, Mugello, Barcelona we were very close to the top guys. Before we broke in Le Mans we were sixth, In Mugello I did the fifth fastest lap time, and in Barcelona we showed good potential all weekend.

"So I hope we will have no more problems regarding the engine. This is my favorite layout, really good memories here in MotoGP. Can't wait to fight for the top positions and to finish the race in Assen.

"Apart from the very tight corner before the back straight, where you really need good acceleration, the rest is really a handling track, where you need to be really technical, really use as much track as possible to keep as much speed all the time. It's a layout that I like a lot. I think the Aprilia is really stable on the fast corners, so it can also help a little bit, so I'm really ambitious this weekend."

By Neil Morrison

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