Espargaro started Sunday’s 23-lap Mugello race from seventh and would go on to register his fourth-straight podium in third.
But his hopes of fighting for victory on Aprilia’s home soil were scuppered by difficulties in passing VR46 Ducati riders Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini – with Espargaro showering praise on the duo who started on the front row.
Commenting on his race, Espargaro said: “I’m happy, satisfied. I was dreaming of fighting for the victory, but I couldn’t because I lose a lot of time with the VR46 guys.
“They did a very good job because they don’t have much experience, they made no mistakes, they were fast, I was expecting more mistakes but they didn’t.
“So, it was difficult for me to overtake them. I lost 15 laps behind them.
“So, bravo to them and when I was able to overtake them it was too late.
“But anyway, I’m very happy.
“It was a very good weekend for everybody for Aprilia.
“I knew starting from seventh place would be very difficult, but overall I’m happy. It’s my fourth podium in a row.”
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Espargaro raced a new engine at Mugello which allowed him to keep pace with the Ducatis in their slipstream.
But he says his bike had nothing to do with his victory hopes coming to nothing, instead admitting he simple “wasn’t brilliant on the overtakes”.
“I have to say that today the engine was not an excuse,” he added.
“The bike was fast, the bike was good. I didn’t lose any ground with the Ducatis on the straight.
“But I was not brilliant on the overtakes.
“For example, in the first part of the race I was in front of Fabio but he was able to overtake me and to overtake the Ducati guys easier.
“I was a lot of time stuck behind them. So, was not the problem of the engine, the engine was fast.”
Espargaro still holds second in the championship, but his deficit to Fabio Quartararo – who was second at Mugello – has extended to eight points heading to this weekend’s Catalan Grand Prix.