Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro claimed sixth in Sunday’s MotoGP race after enduring technical issues with his RS-GP on the Red Bull Ring start line.
With the holeshot device failing to deploy as required, and the Spaniard still carrying a broken heel from his Silverstone highside, sixth was a positive result at a track previously highlighted as one of his toughest.
Ninth in qualifying was the highest Espargaro had run across the Austrian weekend as he struggled to meet his potential of previous races. However, the 32-year-old recovered from a poor start to come home 11 seconds off his title-rival and victor Pecco Bagnaia in the 28-lap race.
“Already I had some problems during the practices with the start device,” Espargaro explained from Spielberg. “I was not able to put it on and it happened again in the race and unfortunately I lose a lot of places on the start. I was able to recover a few places in the first lap and then I really push in the first part of the race to recover some ground but I paid later on because I destroyed the rear tyre but hopefully, we're going to improve for the future.
“I didn't have the pace, this is the reality,” he continued. “I think I did a solid and very good race actually.
"I cannot be happy with sixth place but I'm proud of my riding today because I ride into the limit all race.
“I was able to do four laps in '29 which is very, very fast and at the end obviously I destroyed the tyre because I didn't have the pace and I lose some positions in the last part of the race. But once again, this track for the Aprilia and for myself, we knew before we arrived that will be one of the most difficult tracks and it was but at the end sixth place is not a disaster.”