It says something about the rate of progress at Aprilia that Aleix Espargaro looked upon a seventh place finish at the Sachsenring with an air of frustration, as the RS-GP's acceleration struggles proved too difficult to overcome.

The Catalan had shown the RS-GP to be a formidable performer around the tight, twisty German track throughout free practice, and there was even talk of a podium challenge emanating from his camp on Saturday afternoon.

And while the pace was certainly there to challenge the top five at the very least, Espargaro became impatient when riding behind the punchier Ducatis and Yamahas throughout, and repeatedly ran into difficulties under braking.

"I had a good race, a good fight," said the 27-year old. "I expected a little bit more. At the beginning of the race I was a little bit impatient, I tried to overtake Andrea and Petrucci many times and I was wide. At the beginning of the race with Aprilia, we have a little bit of lack of acceleration, so when I arrive on the brakes, I'm too far, I have to risk a lot.

"And unfortunately I couldn't stop the bike and I went wide two or three times, then I was one second off, and I have to arrive again. I lost a lot of time in that fight. But anyway, I think we were in a good group, we were on a solid weekend and happy all round.

"Sincerely it was not that fun for me, because inside of myself I felt I had better pace. So obviously it was nice to stay with Vale, Maverick and Dovizioso, but inside of me I felt I had better pace. I couldn't overtake them, it was really frustrating, because every time I tried, I went wide.

"And then I had one second and I arrived too quick to them, in less than two laps I was again with them, so for me it was like, fuck, I can arrive too easy, if I can overtake then maybe I can go forward. But too many mistakes. So this is racing."

Turn one was a notable tricky spot for the Catalan, who ran in hot when attempting numerous out-braking moves. It was, he said, a consequence of losing so much ground when exiting the tight, uphill turn 13.

"In the straight, the last ten laps I didn't lose anything with Dovizioso, because he was spinning and I had good grip, but at the beginning of the race, the pure power, it's just impossible to follow Dovi or even the Yamaha.

"So when I arrive on the brakes I'm super far from them. But anyway, I was super anxious because I knew I had better pace, and I tried to brake too late, too late, I tried everything, but every time I was wide, wide, wide. Maybe I was a little bit anxious, a little bit too nervous, but when you feel inside of you that you have a good pace and you can go forward, you can go a little bit more in front, you have to try.

"And obviously today, I throw the race, but these three or four mistakes I did in corner one... Anyway, we showed a good pace and [we were] strong with the Aprilia here."

Turning his attentions to the second half of 2017, Espargaro revealed he is expecting a 'nice surprise' at the Brno race weekend in early August as Aprilia engineers work rapidly to heighten the RS-GP's chances of improving on its best result of sixth this year.

"Yes, Aprilia is working very hard. They told me they have a nice surprise for me at Brno if everything is on a good way. They have a couple of tests with the test team, and it looks like they found a good step on the engine side. I can't wait for Brno.

"But now it's time to completely disconnect the brain, I don't want to know anything about bikes for at least the next fifteen days, and then prepare really strong the next part of the season, because it's going to be hard, a lot of travel, we have a lot of tests during the European races, so now it's time to disconnect and relax."

By Neil Morrison

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