Espargaro finished Sundayâs 26-lap Assen race eighth after narrowly missing out on seventh in a battle with Hondaâs Marc Marquez.
The Aprilia rider showed strong pace throughout practice and was just under five seconds from the final step of the podium, but âa big limitationâ with his bikeâs engine meant he could do nothing when he went up against Ducatis during the race.
Espargaro says this left him with âfrustration insideâ because he feels âready to fight for the podiumâ in MotoGP.
âIâm happy about my pace but I have a feeling of, I donât know, frustration inside,â Espargaro said on Sunday.
âI feel like a â I donât know if itâs nice to say â but I feel like an idiot because I feel like Iâm strong and fast and ready to fight for the podium because Iâm always there.
âBut then in the race I canât overtake. I have a big limitation with the engine, with the performance in the straights and I canât overtake.
âToday I was much stronger than [Francesco] Bagnaia for example, or [Jack] Miller but I was stuck behind them.
âEspecially with the Ducatis itâs a big frustration.
âI put in my best lap at the end of the race where it was the only lap I was alone.
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Photo by: Dorna
âI did a 1m33.3s, which is a very fast lap time, very close to my qualifying lap.
âBut then I arrived to Bagnaia and I canât overtake him. Itâs just frustrating.
âI think we did a good job in the first part of this season, we are eighth in the championship with 61 points, which we have to enjoy this obviously because we are coming from a lot worse in the last years.
âBut we have to improve on the engine side because itâs what weâre missing the most.â
On Sunday at Assen Maverick Vinales â who will quit Yamaha at the end of the year â was linked with a shock move to Aprilia for 2022, though Espargaro refused to comment on these reports.
Vinales and Espargaro previously shared a garage at Suzuki from 2015-2016.