Aleix Espargaro's high hopes for the new 2020 Aprilia turned to bitter disappointment as he crashed out of both season-opening races at Jerez.

The Spaniard qualified just 16th on each occasion, then fell on the lap 3 of the Spanish Grand Prix (while in 14th) and lap 9 (11th) of the Andalucia round.

"I'm feeling very disappointed with the crash. I'm very sorry for the team, because yesterday, with my guys, we had a small problem and we finished at close to 1am," Espargaro said on Sunday. "Today I was aiming to do a good race for them.

"I did a good start, but I feel that I am over the limit with this bike trying to follow the Ducatis and Suzuki. I was at the same pace. I did nothing strange, but obviously to be with them I have to ride closer to the limit than them. And I paid.

"With the track slippery like this, you have to stop the bike more, and then accelerate.

"I cannot do that riding style.

"I cannot stop the bike and use all of the power, because I don't have it. So I have to make a little bit more corner speed to help with acceleration and I lost the front.

"Once again, I'm very sorry, I never crashed in two consecutive races in MotoGP, so I'm very disappointed. But today I felt that there was not much to do."

Espargaro - whose testing form suggested the RS-GP's first-ever top five and perhaps even a podium challenge will be possible this season - emphasised that despite the nightmare start, he 'likes the bike' and that the engine is the only area where it is lacking.

"I like the bike, I feel good, we are just missing power. This is the key point. I think our bike is better or at the same level to our competitors, apart from the engine, so I have to rush in the middle of the corner.

"I overtook Dovizioso once and Petrucci once, but as soon as we pick up the bike, within 55 metres, they overtake me again. So it was frustrating.

"Sincerely, I know it's stupid to say, but I felt that if there was nobody in front of me I could ride at 1'39.0 every single lap.

"Anyway, it's difficult to be positive at this moment, but I feel I'm strong, I feel fast with this bike, I feel that I'm on the limit with this bike, but I feel good. So I will keep insisting, I will keep trying, but right now I feel very disappointed."

Team-mate Bradley Smith did finish both races, in 15th and then 12th places, cutting four-seconds from his race time in the process, despite being caught up in the Brad Binder-Miguel Oliveira incident at Turn One.

"In this second race, we made some progress, especially in managing to contain the gap with the rider ahead of me," Smith said. "Unfortunately, I lost a lot of time on the first corner, having to slow down a lot to avoid the fallen riders. I made the smartest choice, without taking pointless risks.

"It was a pity because I would have liked staying in the group. One of the positive aspects is certainly the fact that we were able to finish both races without any serious problems and I know that the guys already have some solutions ready to solve some of the issues that came out during these two weekends."

 

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