Pol Espargaro admitted he had little choice but to walk into older brother Aleix's tactical trap during the closing stages of Sunday's Argentina MotoGP.

The pair had been disputing ninth for most of the race, with Pol's KTM shadowing Aleix's Aprilia.

Pol was shaping up for a last-lap pass, but Aleix thwarted the plan by 'relaxing' his pace in the closing stages.

With Miguel Oliveira closing from behind, Pol felt he had no choice but to pass his slowing brother - with four laps to go - and duly fell victim to a last-lap repass by the #41.

"In the last laps I saw that he was relaxing a little," Pol said of Aleix. "I knew he was waiting for me, like he wanted me to go in front of him, because he knows I'm good in the last laps.

"I wanted to be behind him during the last lap and then fight with him, and I knew if we could do like that I would win the fight.

"But the problem is that I had Miguel closing fast and I knew if I would stay more behind Aleix, Miguel would overtake me and then I'd have some problems to win the battle [for ninth].

"So I needed to overtake my brother, show my cards, and he could see where I was strong and then he overtook me and I couldn't do anything in the last lap.

"But I think I needed to do that to keep the top ten place. I can say that he was a little bit lucky that I had Miguel coming strong from the back. But it's okay, it's a top ten and to risk a crash for one position would be silly."

KTM has narrowly beaten Aprilia to fifth in the MotoGP constructors' title for the last two seasons, but it has been Aleix and the RS-GP that has finished highest in the opening two rounds of this year.

"I think Aprilia is a little bit stronger than us in the first races, to be honest it looks like they are able to catch the grip a little bit better than us. When I was fighting with my brother he overtook me on the straight, so it means that they have improved quite a lot the power and performance on the straight," Pol explained.

"We knew in these first races we would struggle a little bit more than the others and then in Jerez I think we are going to have a much better performance than we are showing now.

"So to be as close as we are now and fighting against them in these races means that we are much better than last year.

"Even in hot, low grip, difficult conditions where I'm especially bad we could finish as the first KTM, in the top ten, getting quite a lot of points and fighting for ninth against my brother. So, I'm happy.

"The race today was also faster than last year but we've been closer to the top guys than last year so it feels like in Qatar and here we've reconfirmed that we are closing some of the gap.

"So I'm looking forward to do the next race in Texas that I think will be the most critical of the season and then Jerez, because I think we are going to do a good result there this year."

Part of the reason for Espargaro's Jerez optimism is the scheduled arrival of new parts for the Spanish round.

As in Sunday's race, Aleix is currently ninth in the world championship (13 points), one place ahead of Pol (10 points).

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