Espargaro started fourth and finished in the same position, 9.1s from winner Fabio Quartararo, as his front hard tyre caused him vibrations throughout the 30-lap race.
But the Aprilia rider says from the warm-up lap he noticed his front tyre was problematic and was surprised to have run in third for so long given how slow he was being forced to ride.
“From lap one when I changed the front tyre on the grid and I started the formation lap, I felt a lot of vibration on the front,” Espargaro, now 34 points off the championship lead, said.
“I was very angry but I had no time obviously to stop and change the tyre because I put the new tyre on [when I was] on the grid.
“The tyre started to jump. It happened to more than seven riders on Friday, also [Joan] Mir in the qualifying.
“My tyres were always perfect, but today it was unbelievable.
“[There was] a lot of vibration, a lot of chattering. The first six, seven laps with the new rear tyre, I could manage it quite well.
“But then it was impossible. My best sector during the weekend was sector three, the fast part of the track, and it was impossible for me to ride.
“It was question of avoiding the crash all the time.
“It was surprising, because I was lapping very, very slow, but even like this I was in the podium [fight] all race.”
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team
Photo by: Dorna
Team-mate Maverick Vinales ran in fourth for much of the first half of the race and was prepared for a podium charge in the last 10 laps, having kept his medium rear tyre – the only rider other than Quartararo to go for that option – in good condition.
However, a broken rear ride height device forced him to retire on lap 19.
Nevertheless, Vinales left Germany happy with the performance he’d showed to that point in the race having finally made a strong start on the Aprilia in 2022.
“Actually, I’m very happy because I enjoyed riding,” Vinales said.
“We made a good start, I was strong, I had many black marks on my leathers in the first corners [from passing other riders].
“Then I was just keeping the pace. I knew the last 10 laps were going to be my best laps, because I was keeping a good performance in the tyre, always keeping the spin down.
“But the rear device broke and my chances of staying on track were very difficult.
“It broke [in the] down [position], so it never came back. I was wishing. I tried many times to lift it, but it never came back.”