Aleix Espargaro may have crashed out of the German MotoGP, but the Aprilia rider was at least happy to go down fighting after a return to competitive form at the Sachsenring.

Starting 15th, the Spaniard soon latched on to a big group of riders disputing what would become fourth place.

Once finally past Franco Morbidelli for ninth - matching his best result of the season - with two laps to go, another factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi was next in Espargaro's sights.

But he was caught out at turn one.

"We were finally competitive," Espargaro said. "I’m sorry for the team and for all those who work on this project. When you end a race with a crash, you are usually angry about it, but today I am pleased because we were able to stay with the group where we want to be battling, from fourth to tenth place.

"I had a good start. I didn’t have great grip on the rear, but I was very strong in braking and I managed to stay up with Rossi. When he overtook Morbidelli, I struggled to do the same and I got a bit frustrated.

"When I got past him and tried to close the gap, I made a small mistake on turn 1 and crashed. We are not in the fight for the title, so when I saw the chance to take eighth, I went for it.

"It’s a pity about how it ended, but I am very pleased about how we did this weekend."

Team-mate Andrea Iannone made it to the finish, in 13th place.

"We are headed into the summer break on an upward trend," said the Italian. "From Barcelona on, we took a small step and we need to pick up from here for the second half of the season.

"It was not an easy race today. I struggled with fresh tyres, but as the laps went by, I began to improve. We are taking some points home, but more than anything, I have more confidence.

"We are able to understand the RS-GP better and we are very clear about which points we need to work on. I hope that the guys at home are able to get something new ready already for Brno. Our goal from here on is to battle consistently for the top ten."

Espargaro starts the summer break holding 14th in the world championship, ten points and one place ahead of Iannone.

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