Aleix Espargaro says the clash with Jack Miller denied him a shot at a 'fantastic' ninth at Jerez

Aleix Espargaro says the collision with Jack Miller late in the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix denied him the opportunity to fight for a “fantastic” ninth-place.

The Aprilia rider spent the Jerez weekend struggling with a lack of rear grip, but was able to recover to the top 10 having started from 16th. 

Having overtaken Miller for 10th late on, the Pramac rider tried to capitalise on Espargaro running slightly wide at the last corner, but crashed after contact and forced the Aprilia rider off track.

Espargaro dropped behind HRC test rider Stefan Bradl as a result and had to settle for 11th in the end to cap off “not an easy weekend” for him.

“Overall not an easy weekend at all,” Espargaro admitted.

“I suffer quite a lot with the rear grip, all weekend we try many things but it looks like we are not finding the solution to improve our lack of grip. 

“We decide to go on the race with the hard option because we knew the last laps we could be competitive. 

“I suffer a lot at the beginning, I lose a lot of distance between the front guys in the acceleration, but lap-by-lap I begin to feel a bit stronger, and at the end of the race I was strong, I was a little bit faster than the guys in front of me. 

“When I caught Miller I overtook him, but then he hit me very strong and I lose the opportunity to fight for the ninth place with [Takaaki] Nakagami, which would have been really fantastic for us.

“But anyway I did I think [it was] impossible to go faster this weekend. I did maximum possible, no mistakes, the bike works really good in the race, was the maximum we could take.”

On the clash, Miller, who did not remount, added: “With the crash, I was just starting to struggle a little bit. 

“I got passed by Nakagami, [Valentino] Rossi, then Aleix. Aleix passed me and ran a little bit wide. 

“I tried to hold a tighter line and come back at him, but it didn't work. It is what is is, disappointing for the team. But I'm sure at Le Mans we will come back stronger."