Aleix Espargaro “more frustrated than ever” at Le Mans DNF

The Aprilia rider was strong in the top 7 at the start of the race, but dropped back to 12th place after changing flags from flag to flag.

The Espargaro RS-GP recovered to sixth place under wet conditions and ran out on lap 16 due to an unknown technical problem. Teammate Lorenzo Savadori suffered a similar fate on lap 12.

“Yes, I’m more frustrated than ever because this weekend at Le Mans was so difficult,” said Espargaro.

“I had a very tricky beginning of the weekend, [on Saturday] We had a problem with an engine and I crashed twice.

“We start in P13, it goes from flag to flag, but honestly I’m very proud of my level, because I had a good start in the dry, I felt very strong in the dry.

“I couldn’t do a lot of laps, but I knew why I won’t be fast when I’m fast on the other tracks. So I started out super confident of myself and felt very, very strong.

“Before the rain started, I caught Marc [Marquez] and [Takaaki] Nakagami, [Alex] Rins was a little faster, but Rins was already in P3 or P4.

“So I’m very confident and when it started raining I was very angry.

“I rode the rain bike, lost a lot of positions on the first lap, but then for the first time in many years I started feeling fast in the wet and I started overtaking Valentino.” [Rossi], [Iker] Lecuona, [Danilo] Petrucci, my brother, [Maverick] Vinales in just two rounds.

“So it’s a great shame to lose those points because we could easily have been in the top five and six today.”

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Espargaro received an arm pump operation in Barcelona on Monday after struggling with the problem in Jerez.

He is expected to make a full recovery in two weeks in time for the Italian GP.

Espargaro is the fourth rider this season to have an arm pump operation. Jack Miller from Ducati, Fabio Quartararo from Yamaha and Lecuona from Tech3 have similar procedures.