Early race contact with Johann Zarco dropped Aleix Espargaro to a low of 18th place during Sunday's Italian MotoGP.

The Aprilia rider then remained behind the KTM for the next ten laps, by which time they had moved into the point-scoring places.

Once past the Frenchman, Espargaro continued to chip away at the riders ahead of him, his final pass being on the Repsol Honda of Jorge Lorenzo for eleventh place.

"I started well, but unfortunately, Zarco made some pretty bold contact, causing me to lose time," Espargaro said.

"In terms of pace, I had plenty to battle with Pol and Pirro in the top ten, but despite feeling very good today, I struggled to overtake.

"It’s a pity. Without the initial contact, a top-ten finish would most certainly have been within our potential.

"The conditions were demanding today. It was very hot and there wasn’t much grip and, considering our starting position, the 20-second gap behind the leader is a good result."

Team-mate Andrea Iannone claimed to be satisfied with his early pace as he rode from 23rd and last on the grid to 15th during his home debut on an RS-GP.

"I am satisfied, especially with the pace in the early part of the race," he said. Starting so far behind, I was able to battle and make up a lot of ground, even on Aleix who is certainly my point of reference.

"Unfortunately, on the final laps with Mir and Zarco, we held one another up, losing time and also letting those who were behind us get close. This was clearly not the Mugello I expected, but our goal is long-term - to get to know the bike better and better and to develop it."

Espargaro is 13th in the world championship and Iannone 20th.

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