A contrasting British Grand Prix for Aprilia saw Iannone bag only his second top ten finish whilst Espargaro had two engine disasters

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro had contrasting fortunes at the GoPro British Grand Prix, with the Italian securing just a second top ten finish of the season whilst the Spaniard was robbed of a top ten finish of his own after a second engine failure in three days.

Iannone came across the line in a lonely tenth place, four seconds adrift of the battle for seventh ahead of him, but was left frustrated by a top speed deficit that meant he couldn’t bridge the gap. “A big handicap” is unsurprisingly how he described the “three or four tenths” he was losing to the likes of Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) ahead of him.

“For sure, much better than the last race,” said Iannone, after bouncing back from finishing outside the points in Austria and the Czech Republic. “I stayed with the second group for the race, so it’s important for us. The new surface without the bumps is much better for our bike. We need to improve a lot though. On the straight, compared to my teammate, I lose a lot, which is a big handicap for me.

“I have the same lap time but on the straight, on the acceleration, I lost a lot. Maybe on the data we’ll see three or four tenths and for me, that’s a big handicap because without this gap I think it was possible to fight for sixth or seventh position so that changes a lot for us. The team worked well this weekend though, we tried many things and I hope we understand the way for the future. I always say never give up and I’ll continue like this.”

It was disappointment on the other side of the garage, though, after Aleix Espargaro suffered another engine failure. The Spaniard had engine difficulties in Free Practice on Friday but then had more issues with just two laps remaining of the British Grand Prix on Sunday, something he called “a big problem”.

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“We’re not satisfied. I made a good start but because of the crash, I lost a couple of places. I very quickly overtook a couple of riders, including Iannone. The pace was not that bad, it was what I expected. Fighting with Petrucci and my brother it was very difficult to overtake them. I got in front of my brother three times but then he recovered again all the time, so it was a bit frustrating not to stay in front because I felt I had a little bit more pace. We were catching Crutchlow and Miller, so I’m satisfied with the pace.

“But at the end, like Friday, the engine stopped, so two different engines in a weekend. It’s not normal but there’s nothing I can do. I hope the engineers can understand what was going on. It was very similar to the feeling on Friday, so I hope they can find a solution as they were two new engines. We have quite a big problem right now as there’s quite a lot of races to the end.”

Next up, the Italian factory head home for the San Marino Grand Prix. Prior to that, and possibly more importantly, the squad will be at the Official Test at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli later this week, where both Iannone and Espargaro will be hoping to put their issues to bed whilst also building on a promising weekend at Silverstone.

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