Aleix Espargaro has revealed that a severe front tyre vibration meant he couldn’t push to his fullest extent during the German Grand Prix and fight for a rostrum finish.
The Aprilia rider ran third for much of the 30-lap contest, though looked to be struggling as he fell well behind runaway leaders Fabio Quartararo and Johann Zarco while holding up team-mate Maverick Vinales.
With the threat of Vinales vanquished after he was forced to retire with a broken rear ride-height device, Espargaro was then forced to defend from a charging Jack Miller across the final third of the encounter, and despite fending off a pair of dive-bombs from the Ducati rider at Turn 1 in the closing laps he eventually lost out to the Aussie after running wide at the bend three laps from home.
Conceding that he “never felt good during the race” as a result of the vibration caused by his front tyre, Espargaro affirmed that he was still “satisfied” to salvage fourth despite dealing with the ailment for the entirety of the race, describing the outing as a “good day for the championship.”
“I never felt good during the race, from lap one I had a vibration with the front tyre so I don’t understand what happened,” explained Espargaro.
“As soon as I changed the front tyre and was on the way to the grid I felt the vibration so it was just a matter of avoid the crash throughout the race, I was never able to push and was just trying to protect my position.
“I was very slow but I was keeping the position, I’m not overly happy but I’m satisfied to have taken some good points and hopefully we can find a solution to what happened today.
“It’s good (to be disappointed with fourth) because our target is higher, I’m satisfied because considering the problem we had it was easy to crash or finish outside the top ten so it’s a good day for the championship, but of course when you had the potential for the podium you cannot be happy.”
Vinales: It would have been a nice battle
Vinales added that he feels it would have been a “nice battle” between he and good friend Espargaro over the final rostrum position had he not been forced to retire with a jammed-on rear ride-height device, the nine-time premier class race winner left encouraged with his Sachsenring speed considering he feels there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“I had a bit of a problem with the start device, it got blocked and it didn’t come back,” said Vinales.
“It started to be a problem two laps before I retired, but these things can happen and we need to take the positives of the weekend in that I was fighting at the front.
“We feel our potential is good and we still have a lot of room to improve with the bike and myself, so we just need to keep focussed and continue to work hard.
“I think we could (fight for podium), I was taking a bit of a breather behind Aleix (Espargaro) because I had to recover a lot of places, but he was also very strong and I think it would have been a nice battle.
“I want to be on the same level as here, we can be competitive on every track and Assen is much better for my riding style and it is my desire to see myself running at my maximum potential.”